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J Okla State Med Assoc. 1998 Dec;91(9):504-8.

Physician-older patient communication during the transition from independence to dependence.

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  • 1Department of Communication, University of Oklahoma in Norman, USA.


This article reviews recent research regarding the communication between physicians and their older patients who are passing from independence to dependence. Major findings from these studies are summarized with a discussion of how the context of the medical encounter, the physical, cognitive and language changes related to age, the amount of time permitted for a medical encounter, the managed care environment, and the presence of a companion can affect competent communication between a physician and an older adult. The article concludes with a comment about the need to educate current and future physicians on the complexity of communicating effectively with older patients.

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