caregivers


A Caregiver’s Near-Suicide

An article on “caregiver burden” in the March 12 issue of JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) opens by describing a painful, nearly fatal, situation: Mrs. D, at 84 years of age, was the primary caregiver for her functionally impaired 86-year-old husband and shot herself 3 times in a suicide attempt. Mrs. D’s family […]

Don’t Hide Behind HIPAA to Avoid Communicating with Caregivers!

 In May, Carol Levine posted about how HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) interferes with caregiving for the elderly by leading many health professionals to refuse to communicate with families and others involved in care of the elderly. Carol subsequently interviewed Leon Rodriguez, director of the Office of Civil Rights at the Department […]

Grandma and Her Robot

As early as 1985, in A Robot in Every Home, futurist Mike Higgins predicted that “pet robots” would ultimately provide companionship for the elderly. He was right. “Service robots,” like the vacuum cleaner Roomba (on sale at Costco for $299), perform instrumental tasks. By contrast, “social/emotional robots” target the experiential aspects of our lives. Earlier […]

How Patients Can Assess the Quality of Their Outpatient Care

Even before I launched my geriatric consultation practice, I found myself often poring over another doctor’s outpatient notes, trying to explain to a patient what the other doctor was doing. Not every patient had questions and concerns about what their other healthcare providers were saying, and doing, but a fair number of them did. And […]

A Proposal That Just Might Solve the Primary Care Crisis: Meet the 35 Hour Work Week

In March, The Health Care Blog published a truly outstanding commentary by Jeff Goldsmith, on why practice redesign isn’t going to solve the primary care shortage. In the post, Goldsmith explains why a proposed model of high-volume primary care practice — having docs see even more patients per day, and grouping them in pods — […]

Return of the Hero

Blanched by anemia, Mary rested quietly in the hospital bed. Her pallor made her barely visible amid the bleached bed linens–she seemed a mere  shock of white hair against the pillowcase. Age 93, she’d visited the hospital a half-dozen times in as many months, shuttling between nursing home and hospital as many elders unwittingly do […]

How HIPAA Interferes with Caregiving for the Elderly

Although it was not the intent of the law, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) has been interpreted and misapplied as a barrier to communication with the very people who have a deep and often lifelong relationship with elderly  patients  and who will be responsible for managing or providing care in […]

How Hospital Care Should Work

This is a corny essay by a man who, having recently undergone surgery, was reminded of those people who, in tending to our health, urge us to focus on what issues properly define life.  First it was the emergency room where I observed the palpable concern on the face of a woman whose only job […]

Amour or Love Among the Ruins

Nominated for five Academy Awards, Amour is a film about love and death. (Read no further if you haven’t seen the film and don’t want to know who dies and how.) The setting is Paris, the language French, but any resemblance to a conventional French film about light-hearted romance or a ménage a trois ends […]