Items in AFP with MESH term: Physician's Role
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.
ABSTRACT: The number one cause of death for children younger than 14 years is vehicular injury. Child safety seats and automobile safety belts protect children in a crash if they are used correctly, but if a child does not fit in the restraint correctly, it can lead to injury. A child safety seat should be used until the child correctly fits into an adult seat belt. It is important for physicians caring for children to know what child safety seats are available and which types of seats are safest. Three memory keys will help guide appropriate child safety seat choice: (1) Backwards is Best; (2) 20-40-80; and (3) Boost Until Big Enough. "Backwards is Best" cues the physician that infants are safest in a head-on crash when they are facing backward. "20-40-80" reminds the physician that children may need to transition to a different seat when they reach 20, 40, or 80 lb. "Boost Until Big Enough" emphasizes that children need to use booster seats until they are big enough to fit properly into an adult safety belt.
ABSTRACT: The incidence of hip fracture is expected to increase as the population ages. One in five persons dies in the first year after sustaining a hip fracture, and those who survive past one year may have significant functional limitation. Although surgery is the main treatment for hip fracture, family physicians play a key role as patients' medical consultants. Surgical repair is recommended for stable patients within 24 to 48 hours of hospitalization. Antibiotic prophylaxis is indicated to prevent infection after surgery. Thromboprophylaxis has become the standard of care for management of hip fracture. Effective agents include unfractionated heparin, low-molecular-weight heparin, fondaparinux, and warfarin. Optimal pain control, usually with narcotic analgesics, is essential to ensure patient comfort and to facilitate rehabilitation. Rehabilitation after hip fracture surgery ideally should start on the first postoperative day with progression to ambulation as tolerated. Indwelling urinary catheters should be removed within 24 hours of surgery. Prevention, early recognition, and treatment of contributing factors for delirium also are crucial. Interventions to help prevent future falls, exercise and balance training in ambulatory patients, and the treatment of osteoporosis are important strategies for the secondary prevention of hip fracture.
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.
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.
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.
ABSTRACT: Family physicians commonly care for patients with serious mental illness. Patients with psychotic and bipolar disorders have more comorbid medical conditions and higher mortality rates than patients without serious mental illness. Many medications prescribed for serious mental illness have significant metabolic and cardiovascular adverse effects. Patients treated with second-generation antipsychotics should receive preventive counseling and treatment for obesity, hyperglycemia, diabetes, and hyperlipidemia. First- and second-generation antipsychotics have been associated with QT prolongation. Many common medications can interact with antipsychotics, increasing the risk of cardiac arrhythmias and sudden death. Drug interactions can also lead to increased adverse effects, increased or decreased drug levels, toxicity, or treatment failure. Physicians should carefully consider the risks and benefits of second-generation antipsychotic medications, and patient care should be coordinated between primary care physicians and mental health professionals to prevent serious adverse effects.
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.
ABSTRACT: Physicians are frequently involved in the assessment of impairment and disability as the treating physician, in consultation, or as an independent medical examiner. The key elements of this assessment include a comprehensive clinical evaluation and appropriate standardized testing to establish the diagnosis, characterize the severity of impairment, and communicate the patient's abilities, restrictions, and need for accommodation. In some cases, a functional capacity evaluation performed by a physical or occupational therapist or a neuropsychological evaluation performed by a neuropsychologist may be required to further clarify the functional capacity of the patient. The results of the impairment evaluation should be communicated in clear, simple terms to nonmedical professionals representing the benefits systems. These individuals make the final determination on the extent of disability and eligibility for benefits and compensation under that particular benefits system.
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.