Items in AFP with MESH term: Physicians, Family
Breaking Bad News - Article
ABSTRACT: Breaking bad news is one of a physician's most difficult duties, yet medical education typically offers little formal preparation for this daunting task. Without proper training, the discomfort and uncertainty associated with breaking bad news may lead physicians to emotionally disengage from patients. Numerous study results show that patients generally desire frank and empathetic disclosure of a terminal diagnosis or other bad news. Focused training in communication skills and techniques to facilitate breaking bad news has been demonstrated to improve patient satisfaction and physician comfort. Physicians can build on the following simple mnemonic, ABCDE, to provide hope and healing to patients receiving bad news: Advance preparation--arrange adequate time and privacy, confirm medical facts, review relevant clinical data, and emotionally prepare for the encounter. Building a therapeutic relationship-identify patient preferences regarding the disclosure of bad news. Communicating well-determine the patient's knowledge and understanding of the situation, proceed at the patient's pace, avoid medical jargon or euphemisms, allow for silence and tears, and answer questions. Dealing with patient and family reactions-assess and respond to emotional reactions and empathize with the patient. Encouraging/validating emotions--offer realistic hope based on the patient's goals and deal with your own needs.
ABSTRACT: The development of topical anesthetics has provided the family physician with multiple options in anesthetizing open and intact skin. The combination of tetracaine, adrenaline (epinephrine), and cocaine, better known as TAC, was the first topical agent available for analgesia of lacerations to the face and scalp. Cocaine has been replaced with lidocaine in a newer formulation called LET (lidocaine, epinephrine, and tetracaine). For analgesia to nonintact skin, LET gel is generally preferred over TAC because of its superior safety record and cost-effectiveness. EMLA (eutectic mixture of local anesthetics) is perhaps the most well-known topical anesthetic for use on intact skin. EMLA can be used to anesthetize the skin before intramuscular injections, venipuncture, and simple skin procedures such as curettage or biopsy. To be fully effective, EMLA should be applied at least 90 minutes before the procedure. ELA-Max is a new, rapidly acting topical agent for intact skin that works by way of a liposomal delivery system and is available over the counter. Other delivery vehicles for topical anesthesia currently in development, including iontophoresis and anesthetic patches, may one day give patients and physicians even more flexibility.
ABSTRACT: Support of patient self-management is a key component of effective chronic illness care and improved patient outcomes. Self-management support goes beyond traditional knowledge-based patient education to include processes that develop patient problem-solving skills, improve self-efficacy, and support application of knowledge in real-life situations that matter to patients. This approach also encompasses system-focused changes in the primary care environment. Family physicians can support patient self-management by structuring patient-physician interactions to identify problems from the patient perspective, making office environment changes that remove self-management barriers, and providing education individually and through available community self-management resources. The emerging evidence supports the implementation of practice strategies that are conducive to patient self-management and improved patient outcomes among chronically ill patients.
ABSTRACT: Ethnic minorities currently compose approximately one third of the population of the United States. The U.S. model of health care, which values autonomy in medical decision making, is not easily applied to members of some racial or ethnic groups. Cultural factors strongly influence patients' reactions to serious illness and decisions about end-of-life care. Research has identified three basic dimensions in end-of-life treatment that vary culturally: communication of "bad news"; locus of decision making; and attitudes toward advance directives and end-of-life care. In contrast to the emphasis on "truth telling" in the United States, it is not uncommon for health care professionals outside the United States to conceal serious diagnoses from patients, because disclosure of serious illness may be viewed as disrespectful, impolite, or even harmful to the patient. Similarly, with regard to decision making, the U.S. emphasis on patient autonomy may contrast with preferences for more family-based, physician-based, or shared physician- and family-based decision making among some cultures. Finally, survey data suggest lower rates of advance directive completion among patients of specific ethnic backgrounds, which may reflect distrust of the U.S. health care system, current health care disparities, cultural perspectives on death and suffering, and family dynamics. By paying attention to the patient's values, spirituality, and relationship dynamics, the family physician can elicit and follow cultural preferences.
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.
Primary Care of the Patient with Cancer - Article
ABSTRACT: Care of patients with cancer can be enhanced by continued involvement of the primary care physician. The physician's role may include informing the patient of the diagnosis, helping with decisions about treatment, providing psychological support, treating intercurrent disease, continuing patient-appropriate preventive care, and recognizing and managing or comanaging complications of cancer and cancer therapies. Adverse effects of therapy and cancer-related symptoms include nausea, febrile neutropenia, pain, fatigue, depression, and emotional distress. 5-Hydroxytryptamine antagonists are effective in controlling acute nausea associated with chemotherapy. Febrile neutropenia requires systematic evaluation and early empiric antibiotics while awaiting culture results. Cancer-related pain, depression, and fatigue often are underdiagnosed and undertreated. Use of brief screening tools for assessing fatigue and emotional distress can improve management of these symptoms. Exercise prescription, activity management, and psychosocial interventions are useful in treating cancer-related fatigue. The physician must be alert for signs and symptoms of cancer-related emergencies like spinal cord compression, hypercalcemia, tumor lysis syndrome, pericardial tamponade, and superior vena cava syndrome.
ABSTRACT: Chronic kidney disease affects renal drug elimination and other pharmacokinetic processes involved in drug disposition (e.g., absorption, drug distribution, nonrenal clearance [metabolism]). Drug dosing errors are common in patients with renal impairment and can cause adverse effects and poor outcomes. Dosages of drugs cleared renally should be adjusted according to creatinine clearance or glomerular filtration rate and should be calculated using online or electronic calculators. Recommended methods for maintenance dosing adjustments are dose reductions, lengthening the dosing interval, or both. Physicians should be familiar with commonly used medications that require dosage adjustments. Resources are available to assist in dosing decisions for patients with chronic kidney disease.
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.
ABSTRACT: This article provides answers to many questions medical students ask about the specialty of family medicine. It was developed through the collaborative efforts of several family medicine organizations, including the American Academy of Family Physicians, the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine, the Association of Family Medicine Residency Directors, and the Association of Departments of Family Medicine. The article discusses the benefits of primary care and family medicine, the education and training of family physicians, the scope of medical practice in the specialty, and issues related to lifestyle and medical student debt.
ABSTRACT: When patients are diagnosed with cancer, primary care physicians often must deliver the bad news, discuss the prognosis, and make appropriate referrals. When delivering bad news, it is important to prioritize the key points that the patient should retain. Physicians should assess the patient's emotional state, readiness to engage in the discussion, and level of understanding about the condition. The discussion should be tailored according to these assessments. Often, multiple visits are needed. When discussing prognosis, physicians should be sensitive to variations in how much information patients want to know. The challenge for physicians is to communicate prognosis accurately without giving false hope. All physicians involved in the patient's care should coordinate their key prognosis points to avoid giving the patient mixed messages. As the disease progresses, physicians must reassess treatment effectiveness and discuss the values, goals, and preferences of the patient and family. It is important to initiate conversations about palliative care early in the disease course when the patient is still feeling well. There are innovative hospice programs that allow for simultaneous curative and palliative care. When physicians discuss the transition from curative to palliative care, they should avoid phrases that may convey to the patient a sense of failure or abandonment. Physicians also must be cognizant of how cultural factors may affect end-of-life discussions. Sensitivity to a patient's cultural and individual preferences will help the physician avoid stereotyping and making incorrect assumptions.