Kaiser Health News had an article on the failure of doctors to provide recommended interventions for chronic health issues. "Large numbers of seniors aren’t receiving recommended interventions that could help forestall medical problems and improve their health, according to a new survey from the John A. Hartford Foundation." Medicare pays doctors about three times their ordinary office visit rate for asking about older adults’ ability to function, evaluating their mood, recommending preventive services, and connecting them with community resources during wellness visits.
Notably, one-third of older adults said doctors didn’t review all their medications, even though problems with prescription and over-the-counter drugs are common among the elderly, leading to over 177,000 emergency room visits every year. More than two-thirds of the time doctors and nurses didn’t ask older patients whether they’d taken a tumble or provide advice about how to avoid tripping on carpets or slipping on the stairs. 62 percent of seniors said doctors and nurses hadn’t inquired about whether they were sad, depressed or anxious.
The results, which cover a period of 12 months, speak to doctors’ and nurses’ lack of training in geriatric medicine. Providers need to recognize that “care of an 80 year old differs from that of a 50 year old,” said Dr. Rosanne Leipzig, professor of geriatrics at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.