Top Do's and Don'ts of Geriatric Medicine
Friday, December 6, 2013
by: Alethea Fleming, ND
Section: Healthy Aging
Dr. Alethea Fleming
Alethea Crippen Fleming, ND, graduated from Bastyr University in Seattle, Washington. She is additionally certified in Gerontology from the University of Washington and her advanced preceptorship with a leading geriatric MD has given her a wide perspective within her field. Dr. Fleming's background includes experience within the hospice community and she believes in providing compassionate care in all stages of life. Dr. Fleming is an active member of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, the Washington Association of Naturopathic Physicians and the Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians.
Dr. Fleming specializes in geriatric and adult health care, recognizing the specific concerns of those with chronic disease. She enjoys working with people in their middle to late years and will work with you to create solutions for your health care needs. Visit www.vitalagingclinic.com for more information.
DO be respectful. Address your patient by Mr. and Ms. unless told otherwise.
DON'T dismiss a complaint as being just age. Investigate it as completely as you would for a younger patient.
DO familiarize yourself with your patient's medication list very carefully. Polypharmacy is common in elders and a careful evaluation of their meds list can eliminate many problems.
DON'T assume your patient is hard of hearing. Many elders have perfect hearing. Conversely, do make an effort to enunciate, not to speak too quickly, and to face your patient so that they can use lip-reading if needed.
DO take a complete history. Yes, people in their 70s and beyond still have sex and might dabble in drugs. Ask all the questions you normally would.
DON'T be intimidated by geriatrics! Yes, older patients tend to have more complex cases, but this is an underserved population that needs our help and deeply appreciates it.