November 20, 2017 – Healthcare for Seniors


Anchor lead: A new report cites confusion about medical regimens as the biggest challenge to seniors, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Older people with chronic illnesses really don’t understand why they’re being prescribed certain medications or being told to adopt certain behaviors, a disturbing new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation states. Alicia Arbaje, a geriatrics expert at Johns Hopkins, comments.

Arbaje: Seniors reporting having difficulty understanding their medical instructions was actually the most frequent challenge they had even compared to paying for their own medical care. Patients really don’t understand why they’re taking a medication, what it’s for, and even whether it’s really doing them any good. I think that complicates medical instructions quite a bit and it tells us that we also need to be doing more in the home environment, when patients are actually doing this on a day to day basis.  :26

Arbaje notes that lots of research demonstrates that when people don’t get why they’re supposed to be doing things, they stop. And for management of chronic health conditions, that’s a decision fraught with danger. She recommends asking a lot of questions until you feel confident about care regimens. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.