Items in AFP with MESH term: Delivery of Health Care
Management of the Difficult Patient - Article
ABSTRACT: All physicians must care for some patients who are perceived as difficult because of behavioral or emotional aspects that affect their care. Difficulties may be traced to patient, physician, or health care system factors. Patient factors include psychiatric disorders, personality disorders, and subclinical behavior traits. Physician factors include overwork, poor communication skills, low level of experience, and discomfort with uncertainty. Health care system factors include productivity pressures, changes in health care financing, fragmentation of visits, and the availability of outside information sources that challenge the physician's authority. Patients should be assessed carefully for untreated psychopathology. Physicians should seek professional care or support from peers. Specific communication techniques and greater patient involvement in the process of care may enhance the relationship.
ABSTRACT: For the most part, lesbians and bisexual women face the same health issues as heterosexual women, but they often have difficulty accessing appropriate care. Physicians can improve care for lesbians and bisexual women by acknowledging the potential barriers to care (e.g., hesitancy of physicians to inquire about sexual orientation and of patients to disclose their sexual behavior) and working to create a therapeutic physician-patient relationship. Taking an inclusive and nonjudgmental history and being aware of the range of health-related behaviors and medicolegal issues pertinent to these patients enables physicians to perform relevant screening tests and make appropriate referrals. Some recommendations, such as those for screening for cervical cancer and intimate partner violence, should not be altered for lesbians and bisexual women. Considerations unique to lesbians and bisexual women concern fertility and medico-legal issues to protect familial relationships during life changes and illness. The risks of suicidal ideation, self-harm, and depression may be higher in lesbians and bisexual women, especially those who are not open about their sexual orientation, are not in satisfying relationships, or lack social support. Because of increased rates of nulliparity, the risks of conditions such as breast and ovarian cancers also may be higher. The comparative rates of alcohol and drug use are controversial. Smoking and obesity rates are higher in lesbians and bisexual women, but there is no evidence of an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
ABSTRACT: In 2004, the National Guidelines Clearinghouse placed eight guidelines from the National Health Care for the Homeless Council on its Web site. Seven of the guidelines are on specific disease processes and one is on general care. In addition to straightforward clinical decision making, the guidelines contain medical information specific to patients who are homeless. These guidelines have been endorsed by dozens of physicians who spend a large part of their clinical time caring for some of the millions of adults and children who find themselves homeless each year in the United States. In one guideline, physicians are prompted to keep in mind that someone living on the street does not always have access to water for taking medication. Another guideline points out the difficulty of eating a special diet when the patient depends on what the local shelter serves. As the number of homeless families and individuals increases, family physicians need to become aware of medically related information specific to this population. This can help ensure that physicians continue to offer patient-centered care with minimal adherence barriers.
Medical Care for Immigrants and Refugees - Article
ABSTRACT: Refugees and other immigrants often present with clinical problems that are as varied as their previous experiences. Clinical presentations may range from unusual infectious diseases to problems with transition. This article describes medical conditions associated with immigrants, as well as specific screening recommendations, including history, physical examination and laboratory tests, and some of the challenges encountered by family physicians caring for refugees.
ABSTRACT: Menopause is the permanent cessation of menstruation resulting from the loss of ovarian and follicular activity. It usually occurs when women reach their early 50s. Vasomotor symptoms and vaginal dryness are frequently reported during menopause. Estrogen is the most effective treatment for management of hot flashes and night sweats. Local estrogen is preferred for vulvovaginal symptoms because of its excellent therapeutic response. Bone mineral density screening should be performed in all women older than 65 years, and should begin sooner in women with additional risk factors for osteoporotic fractures. Adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D should be encouraged for all postmenopausal women to reduce bone loss. Coronary artery disease is the leading cause of death in women. Postmenopausal women should be counseled regarding lifestyle modification, including smoking cessation and regular physical activity. All women should receive periodic measurement of blood pressure and lipids. Appropriate pharmacotherapy should be initiated when indicated. Women should receive breast cancer screening every one to two years beginning at age 40, as well as colorectal cancer screening beginning at age 50. Women younger than 65 years who are sexually active and have a cervix should receive routine cervical cancer screening with Papanicolaou smear. Recommended immunizations for menopausal women include an annual influenza vaccine, a tetanus and diphtheria toxoid booster every 10 years, and a one-time pneumococcal vaccine after age 65 years.
Finding Diamonds in the Trenches With the Nominal Group Process - Improving Patient Care