Special Communication  |   January 2016
Effective Patient-Physician Communication Based on Osteopathic Philosophy in Caring for Elderly Patients
Author Notes
  • From the Department of Geriatrics and Gerontology at the New Jersey Institute for Successful Aging at the Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine (Drs Noll, Ginsberg, and Elahi); and the Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine (Dr Cavalieri) in Stratford, New Jersey. 
  •  *Address correspondence to Donald R. Noll, DO, 42 E Laurel Rd, Suite 1800, Stratford, NJ 08084-1504. E-mail: nolldr@rowan.edu
     
Article Information
Geriatric Medicine / Professional Issues / Being a DO
Special Communication   |   January 2016
Effective Patient-Physician Communication Based on Osteopathic Philosophy in Caring for Elderly Patients
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, January 2016, Vol. 116, 42-47. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2016.005
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, January 2016, Vol. 116, 42-47. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2016.005
Web of Science® Times Cited: 178
Abstract

The objective of this article is to discuss effective communication strategies between elderly patients and their physicians from the perspective of osteopathic heritage. The patient-physician communication styles of Andrew Taylor Still, MD, DO, and early osteopathic physicians (ie, DOs) may have influenced how DOs today communicate with their patients. Historical literature describes how Still would discuss with his patients the causes of their health problems using analogies and language they would understand, and how, when caring for a patient at the end of life, he empathically provided emotional support for both patients and their families. Early DOs advocated setting clear expectations for patients regarding clinical outcomes and carefully listening to patients to build trust. The Osteopathic Oath, which calls for the DO to view the patient as a friend, may also affect patient-physician communication. Early osteopathic philosophy and culture, as modeled by Dr Still in his approach to elderly patients, should inspire today’s DOs in their communication with their elderly patients.

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