Seniors, doctors should speak freely at check-ups

Seniors, doctors should speak freely at check-ups
Study finds primary docs don’t ask about falls, depression

An annual check-up should be quality time between older patients and their doctors. It’s a chance for both parties to carefully discuss medications, problems with everyday activities like sleeping or walking, and how to stay healthy.

But a recent study indicates these conversations sometimes aren’t happening during crucial primary care visits. “How Does It Feel?,” a national poll commissioned by The John A. Hartford Foundation, found only 7 percent of seniors surveyed said their primary care doctors had asked them about all seven major indicators of potential health problems among elders.

Among the 1,028 patients age 65 and older polled, only 30 percent said their doctors had asked them if they had taken a fall — which is the No. 1 cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries among older Floridians. And 33 percent said their physicians did not review what pills they were taking.

The study authors said these oversights put older patients at risk of disability or premature death. Yet 69 percent of seniors polled said they were completely satisfied with their primary care provider.

That disconnect shows that seniors need to be more proactive during their check-ups, South Florida health-care experts and physicians say.

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