Items in AFP with MESH term: Physician-Patient Relations

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Bridging the Physician-Counselor Divide - The Last Word


A Case of Medical Uncertainty - Curbside Consultation


Implementing Advance Directives in Office Practice - Article

ABSTRACT: Patients prepare advance directives in an effort to maintain autonomy during periods of incapacity or at the end of life. Advance directive documents are specific to the state in which the patient lives, but an effective strategy in the family physician’s office involves more than filling out a form. Physician barriers to completing an advance directive include lack of time and discomfort with the topic. On the patient’s part, lack of knowledge, fear of burdening family, and a desire to have the physician initiate the discussion are common barriers. Once the advance directive is complete, barriers to implementation include vague language, issues with the proxy decision maker, and accessibility of the advance directive. Overcoming these barriers depends on effective communication at multiple visits, including allowing the patient the opportunity to ask questions. Involving the family or a proxy early and over time can help the process. It may be helpful to integrate advance directive discussions at selected stages of the patient’s life and as health status changes.


Managing Adverse Birth Outcomes: Helping Parents and Families Cope - Article

ABSTRACT: Unexpected adverse fetal and neonatal outcomes (e.g., stillbirth, birth trauma, congenital anomalies) present a crisis for the family and the medical care team. In cases of stillbirth, the family physician should be flexible in supporting the parents’ choices, validate the loss, and work as a team with the nursing staff. Psychosocial support includes offering counseling services, assessing women for postpartum depression and anxiety, and considering the effect of the loss on the entire family. Although infants with birth asphyxia or major anomalies may require transfer to facilities with a neonatal intensive care unit, the physician will usually provide ongoing care for the mother in the postpartum period. A comprehensive assessment can determine the etiology of fetal demise in most cases, which may guide future preconception and maternity care. Women with a previous adverse pregnancy outcome may have increased psychological stress in a subsequent pregnancy. Knowledge of community resources will facilitate care for the mother and her partner or family. Physicians may need to seek peer support to cope with their own feelings of loss.


A Better Day Tomorrow - Close-ups


Care of a Sexually Active Adolescent - Curbside Consultation


The Spiritual Assessment - Article

ABSTRACT: More than 80 percent of Americans perceive religion as important. Issues of belief can affect the health care encounter, and patients may wish to discuss spirituality with their physician. Many physicians report barriers to broaching the subject of spirituality, including lack of time and experience, difficulty identifying patients who want to discuss spirituality, and the belief that addressing spiritual concerns is not a physician’s responsibility. Spiritual assessment tools such as the FICA, the HOPE questions, and the Open Invite provide efficient means of eliciting patients’ thoughts on this topic. The spiritual assessment allows physicians to support patients by stressing empathetic listening, documenting spiritual preferences for future visits, incorporating the precepts of patients’ faith traditions into treatment plans, and encouraging patients to use the resources of their spiritual traditions and communities for overall wellness. Conducting the spiritual assessment also may help strengthen the physician-patient relationship and offer physicians opportunities for personal renewal, resiliency, and growth.


Managing Difficult Encounters: Understanding Physician, Patient, and Situational Factors - Article

ABSTRACT: Family physicians commonly find themselves in difficult clinical encounters. These encounters often leave the physician feeling frustrated. The patient may also be dissatisfied with these encounters because of unmet needs, unfulfilled expectations, and unresolved medical issues. Difficult encounters may be attributable to factors associated with the physician, patient, situation, or a combination. Common physician factors include negative bias toward specific health conditions, poor communication skills, and situational stressors. Patient factors may include personality disorders, multiple and poorly defined symptoms, nonadherence to medical advice, and self-destructive behaviors. Situational factors include time pressures during visits, patient and staff conflicts, or complex social issues. To better manage difficult clinical encounters, the physician needs to identify all contributing factors, starting with his or her personal frame of reference for the situation. During the encounter, the physician should use empathetic listening skills and a nonjudgmental, caring attitude; evaluate the challenging patient for underlying psychological and medical disorders and previous or current physical or mental abuse; set boundaries; and use patient-centered communication to reach a mutually agreed upon plan. The timing and duration of visits, as well as expected conduct, may need to be specifically negotiated. Understanding and managing the factors contributing to a difficult encounter will lead to a more effective and satisfactory experience for the physician and the patient.


Using Mindfulness Techniques to Improve Difficult Clinical Encounters - Editorials


Caring for Colleagues, VIPs, Friends, and Family Members - Curbside Consultation


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