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Geriatrician Doctor: What They Do, How to Find One & Why to See Them
My dad, sadly, is not the only elderly patient to take so many medications — and to have his doctor dismiss his concerns about them with a shrug. The problems start early in the drug treatment process: Frequently excluded from clinical trials are the very older adults the medications are meant to help — and whose changing physiology causes them to metabolize drugs differently. Similarly, some doctors fail to recognize when standard medication doses are only appropriate for much younger patients. We medicalize the natural process of aging, then look down on the patients who come seeking treatment. Yet medication-related problems are estimated to be one of the top five causes of death in those 65 and older, and a major cause of confusion, depression, falls, disability and loss of independence. One in three seniors who take five or more medications will have at least one bad drug reaction each year; two-thirds will require medical attention.
Doctors are ageist — and it's harming older patients
It's not always possible to research ahead of time. For example, you may be assigned a doctor in an emergency room or you must see a different doctor because yours is out when you arrive for an appointment. You may not have the time to do research on that doctor before you are examined but you can do so as soon as possible afterward. If you find you don't like that doctors' background, you can try to change doctors later.
Finding a main doctor often called your primary doctor or primary care doctor who you feel comfortable talking to is the first step in good communication. How well you and your doctor talk to each other is one of the most important steps to getting good health care. This doctor gets to know you and what your health is normally like. He or she can help you make medical decisions that suit your values and daily habits and can keep in touch with the other medical specialists and healthcare providers you may need. Taking an active role in your health care puts the responsibility for good communication on both you and your doctor.