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Open Access Publications from the University of California

“I’m Troubled, Doc!” – Reflections on the Care of Elderly Patients

  • Author(s): Milstein, Jay M.
  • et al.

As people age, they experience life-altering events, such as serious illnesses, that can create a sense of hopelessness and lead to a loss of meaning in their lives and in the lives of their families. Often, patients and families may find themselves in a state of despair, finding it difficult to cope. Clinicians who provide care to older adults in any care setting can play a critical role in restoring order to devastated patients and families. In this article, the author provides his perspective on creating both empathy and a compassionate presence and describes a methodology for building the cognitive and emotional foundation for a physician–patient relationship and a framework for shared decision-making.

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