Items in AFP with MESH term: Physician's Role
Speech and Language Delay in Children - Article
ABSTRACT: Speech and language delay in children is associated with increased difficulty with reading, writing, attention, and socialization. Although physicians should be alert to parental concerns and to whether children are meeting expected developmental milestones, there currently is insufficient evidence to recommend for or against routine use of formal screening instruments in primary care to detect speech and language delay. In children not meeting the expected milestones for speech and language, a comprehensive developmental evaluation is essential, because atypical language development can be a secondary characteristic of other physical and developmental problems that may first manifest as language problems. Types of primary speech and language delay include developmental speech and language delay, expressive language disorder, and receptive language disorder. Secondary speech and language delays are attributable to another condition such as hearing loss, intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorder, physical speech problems, or selective mutism. When speech and language delay is suspected, the primary care physician should discuss this concern with the parents and recommend referral to a speech-language pathologist and an audiologist. There is good evidence that speech-language therapy is helpful, particularly for children with expressive language disorder.
Intimate Partner Violence - Article
ABSTRACT: Intimate partner violence is a common source of physical, psychological, and emotional morbidity. In the United States, approximately 1.5 million women and 834,700 men annually are raped and/or physically assaulted by an intimate partner. Women are more likely than men to be injured, sexually assaulted, or murdered by an intimate partner. Studies suggest that one in four women is at lifetime risk. Physicians can use therapeutic relationships with patients to identify intimate partner violence, make brief office interventions, offer continuity of care, and refer them for subspecialty and community-based evaluation, treatment, and advocacy. Primary care physicians are ideally positioned to work from a preventive framework and address at-risk behaviors. Strategies for identifying intimate partner violence include asking relevant questions in patient histories, screening during periodic health examinations, and case finding in patients with suggestive signs or symptoms. Discussion needs to occur confidentially. Physicians should be aware of increased child abuse risk and negative effects on children’s health observed in families with intimate partner violence. Physicians also should be familiar with local and national resources available to these patients.
ABSTRACT: Global warming will cause significant harm to the health of persons and their communities by compromising food and water supplies; increasing risks of morbidity and mortality from infectious diseases and heat stress; changing social determinants of health resulting from extreme weather events, rising sea levels, and expanding flood plains; and worsening air quality, resulting in additional morbidity and mortality from respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Vulnerable populations such as children, older persons, persons living at or below the poverty level, and minorities will be affected earliest and greatest, but everyone likely will be affected at some point. Family physicians can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, stabilize the climate, and reduce the risks of climate change while also directly improving the health of their patients. Health interventions that have a beneficial effect on climate change include encouraging patients to reduce the amount of red meat in their diets and to replace some vehicular transportation with walking or bicycling. Patients are more likely to make such lifestyle changes if their physician asks them to and leads by example. Medical offices and hospitals can become more energy efficient by recycling, purchasing wind-generated electricity, and turning off appliances, computers, and lights when not in use. Moreover, physicians can play an important role in improving air quality and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by advocating for enforcement of existing air quality regulations and working with local and national policy makers to further improve air quality standards, thereby improving the health of their patients and slowing global climate change.
ABSTRACT: The physician-patient relationship is part of the patient’s larger social system and is influenced by the patient’s family. A patient’s family member can be a valuable source of health information and can collaborate in making an accurate diagnosis and planning a treatment strategy during the office visit. However, it is important for the physician to keep an appropriate balance when addressing concerns to maintain the alliance formed among physician, patient, and family member. The patient-centered medical home, a patient care concept that helps address this dynamic, often involves a robust partnership among the physician, the patient, and the patient’s family. During the office visit, this partnership may be influenced by the ethnicity, cultural values, beliefs about illness, and religion of the patient and his or her family. Physicians should recognize abnormal family dynamics during the office visit and attempt to stay neutral by avoiding triangulation. The only time neutrality should be disrupted is if the physician suspects abuse or neglect. It is important that the patient has time to communicate privately with the physician at some point during the visit.
ABSTRACT: Umbilical cord blood stem cell transplants are used to treat a variety of oncologic, genetic, hematologic, and immunodeficiency disorders. Physicians have an important role in educating, counseling, and offering umbilical cord blood donation and storage options to patients. Parents may donate their infant’s cord blood to a public bank, pay to store it in a private bank, or have it discarded. The federal government and many state governments have passed laws and issued regulations regarding umbilical cord blood, and some states require physicians to discuss cord blood options with pregnant women. Five prominent medical organizations have published recommendations about cord blood donation and storage. Current guidelines recommend donation of umbilical cord blood to public banks when possible, or storage through the Related Donor Cord Blood Program when a sibling has a disease that may require a stem cell transplant. Experts do not currently recommend private banking for unidentified possible future use. Step-by-step guidance and electronic resources are available to physicians whose patients are considering saving or donating their infant’s umbilical cord blood.
ABSTRACT: Acute stress disorder is a psychiatric diagnosis that may occur in patients within four weeks of a traumatic event. Features include anxiety, intense fear or helplessness, dissociative symptoms, reexperiencing the event, and avoidance behaviors. Persons with this disorder are at increased risk of developing posttraumatic stress disorder. Other risk factors for posttraumatic stress disorder include current or family history of anxiety or mood disorders, a history of sexual or physical abuse, lower cognitive ability, engaging in excessive safety behaviors, and greater symptom severity one to two weeks after the trauma. Common reactions to trauma include physical, mental, and emotional symptoms. Persistent psychological distress that is severe enough to interfere with psychological or social functioning may warrant further evaluation and intervention. Patients experiencing acute stress disorder may benefit from psychological first aid, which includes ensuring the patient’s safety; providing information about the event, stress reactions, and how to cope; offering practical assistance; and helping the patient to connect with social support and other services. Cognitive behavior therapy is effective in reducing symptoms and decreasing the future incidence of posttraumatic stress disorder. Critical Incident Stress Debriefing aims to mitigate emotional distress through sharing emotions about the traumatic event, providing education and tips on coping, and attempting to normalize reactions to trauma. However, this method may actually impede natural recovery by overwhelming victims. There is insufficient evidence to recommend the routine use of drugs in the treatment of acute stress disorder. Short-term pharmacologic intervention may be beneficial in relieving specific associated symptoms, such as pain, insomnia, and depression.
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.