Items in AFP with MESH term: Physician's Role

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An Approach to the Postpartum Office Visit - Article

ABSTRACT: The postpartum period (typically the first six weeks after delivery) may underscore physical and emotional health issues in new mothers. A structured approach to the postpartum office visit ensures that relevant conditions and concerns are discussed and appropriately addressed. Common medical complications during this period include persistent postpartum bleeding, endometritis, urinary incontinence, and thyroid disorders. Breastfeeding education and behavioral counseling may increase breastfeeding continuance. Postpartum depression can cause significant morbidity for the mother and baby; a postnatal depression screening tool may assist in diagnosing depression-related conditions. Decreased libido can affect sexual functioning after a woman gives birth. Physicians should also discuss contraception with postpartum patients, even those who are breastfeeding. Progestin-only contraceptives are recommended for breastfeeding women. The lactational amenorrhea method may be a birth control option but requires strict criteria for effectiveness.


A Practical Guide to Crisis Management - Article

ABSTRACT: Family physicians often treat patients who are experiencing psychological or medical crises. Any event perceived as overwhelming by the patient may trigger a crisis reaction consisting of psychological and physiological symptoms. Physicians are encouraged to assist patients who are experiencing a crisis by: (1) providing reassurance and support; (2) evaluating the nature of the problem and determining the patient's mental, psychiatric, suicidal or homicidal, and medical statuses; (3) ensuring the safety of the patient and others; (4) assisting the patient in developing an action plan that minimizes distress, and obtaining patient commitment to the plan; and (5) following up with the patient and other relevant persons to ensure follow-through, assess progress, and provide additional assistance and support. Medication or referral for psychiatric or psychological counseling may be necessary for patients with continuing problems.


Disaster-Related Physical and Mental Health: A Role for the Family Physician - Article

ABSTRACT: Natural disasters, technologic disasters, and mass violence impact millions of persons each year. The use of primary health care services typically increases for 12 or more months following major disasters. A conceptual framework for assisting disaster victims involves understanding the individual and environmental risk factors that influence post-disaster physical and mental health. Victims of disaster will typically present to family physicians with acute physical health problems such as gastroenteritis or viral syndromes. Chronic problems often require medications and ongoing primary care. Some victims may be at risk of acute or chronic mental health problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, or alcohol abuse. Risk factors for post-disaster mental health problems include previous mental health problems and high levels of exposure to disaster-related stresses (e.g., fear of death or serious injury, exposure to serious injury or death, separation from family, prolonged displacement). An action plan should involve adequate preparation for a disaster. Family physicians should educate themselves about disaster-related physical and mental health threats; cooperate with local and national organizations; and make sure clinics and offices are adequately supplied with medications and suture and casting material as appropriate. Physicians also should plan for the care and safety of their own families.


The Role of Family Physicians in Delivering Emergency Medical Care - Editorials


Facing the Truth - Close-ups


Initial Counseling of Children with Eating Disorders and Their Families - Curbside Consultation


Reducing Tobacco Use in Adolescents - Article

ABSTRACT: After steadily decreasing since the late 1990s, adolescent smoking rates have stabilized at levels well above national goals. Experts recommend screening for tobacco use and exposure at every patient visit, although evidence of improved outcomes in adolescents is lacking. Counseling should be provided using the 5-A method (ask, advise, assess, assist, and arrange). All smokers should be offered smoking cessation assistance, including counseling, nicotine replacement therapy, bupropion therapy, or combination therapy. Pharmacotherapy of any kind doubles the likelihood of successful smoking cessation in adults; however, nicotine replacement therapy is the only pharmacologic intervention that has been extensively studied in children. Community interventions such as smoking bans and educational programs have been effective at reducing smoking rates in children and adolescents. Antismoking advertising and tobacco sales taxes also help deter new smokers and motivate current smokers to attempt to quit.


The Role of the Family Physician in the Referral and Management of Hospice Patients - Article

ABSTRACT: Hospice is available for any patient who is terminally ill and chooses a palliative care approach. Because of the close relationship that primary care physicians often have with their patients, they are in a unique position to provide end-of-life care, which includes recognizing the need for and recommending hospice care when appropriate. The hospice benefit covers all expenses related to the terminal illness, including medication, nursing care, and equipment. Hospice should be considered when a patient has New York Heart Association class IV heart failure, severe dementia, activity-limiting lung disease, or metastatic cancer. Timely referrals are beneficial to both patient and hospice because of the cost related to initiating services and the time required to form a therapeutic relationship. Once the decision to refer to hospice is made, the family physician typically continues to be the patient's primary attending physician. The attending physician is expected to remain in charge of the patient's care, write orders, see the patient for office visits, and complete and sign the death certificate. Hospice, in turn, is a valuable physician resource when it comes to medication dosages, symptom management, and communication with patients and their families.


Physical Activity Counseling - Article

ABSTRACT: Every year in the United States, at least 250,000 deaths are attributed to lack of physical activity. Because of the health benefits of physical activity, national guidelines recommend participation in 30 minutes of accumulated moderate-intensity physical activity such as walking fast on five or more days of the week. However, most Americans fail to achieve this goal and report that their physicians have not counseled them to increase physical activity. Because 84 percent of Americans consult a physician each year, even brief physician counseling that leads to modest activity changes could affect the population's health. Some physicians report that they do not deliver physical activity counseling because of limitations in time, reimbursement, knowledge, confidence, and practical tools. The five A's (Assess, Advise, Agree, Assist, Arrange) model can help physicians deliver brief, individually tailored physical activity messages to patients.


Canning Season - Close-ups


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