It’s hard enough to sustain a good relationship when neither partner is facing a health challenge. Illness ranks high on the list of life’s stressful events, so it’s no surprise that it can have a negative impact on a close relationship. Couples may benefit from counseling, one of the principal reasons being that the presence of a neutral party in the room can facilitate more calm and constructive communication. What follows ...

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Perhaps we thought we could get away with ignoring the relationship between doctors and patients. The Kaiser Health News article, "Efforts to Instill Empathy Among Doctors is Paying Dividends," explains why we can’t. Patient satisfaction scores and reimbursements aside, this relationship was once considered the cornerstone of quality care. Doctors are healers but in recent years many have been reduced to diagnosticians, electronic medical records (EMR) data entry clerks, and health ...

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To the staff overseeing my medically-complex child, My child has been in this world much longer than you expected; thus I’ve been in this relationship with you much longer than I expected. If I could break up with you and find someone new, believe me I would (I’m sure so would you some days). But that isn’t possible; we’re in a dysfunctional relationship. If we recognize this together and just come to an ...

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In 2010, I became a hospice volunteer. My mother had died of a brain tumor five years earlier at age eighty-seven. I saw being a hospice volunteer as a way to express my gratitude for my mother's compassionate hospice care and to help other caregivers to weather a loved one's passing. And, as a former reporter and writer, I thought I could help people to write their life stories, if they ...

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I consider myself a pretty savvy and resourceful consumer. I know how to solve problems that come up in the day to day situations we all face. I have navigated my way through more than a few complicated and sensitive financial situations. Add to that my ability to be persistent, and you would think that I could figure out a simple denial of an insurance claim with ease, right? In ...

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I went to the retired firefighters dinner last week and had a great time, probably because I happened to land on a table full of contemporaries: men who worked at pretty much the same time I did. Inevitably, conversation turned to our memories of some of the older firefighters we had to deal with as we worked our way up the seniority ladder; "getting time on" is what it was called.  ...

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You don’t have a second chance to make a great first impression.

If twenty random numbers were read aloud, most people would remember the first few numbers and the last few numbers.  We tend to remember beginnings and endings.  It is the same with patients; they tend to recall what they hear at the beginning and ...

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If I could drop our health insurance altogether, I would. With a high deductible of $4,000 for in-network providers, my family of three has yet to reach our collective deductible over the last three years. This means we have to pay out of pocket for medical care until we reach that amount. To make matters worse, our health insurance premiums increased by 10 percent, forcing us to find a less ...

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Sometime while I was still in high school, my mom began to have trouble breathing. She had never had asthma before; an albuterol inhaler helped for a while. Still, cold season was a nightmare, and later, so was allergy season, and every year seemed to get worse. After college, I moved back in with my parents. She fought her way through the cold season, dutifully driving 20 miles (and later 40, ...

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Although the Affordable Care Act’s second enrollment period is nearly over, politicians, medical professionals, and the public still debate its implications. According to David Houle and Jonathan Fleece, one-third of all hospitals in the United States will close or be reorganized into another kind of health care provider by 2020. What will differentiate the winners from the losers? Simply put, it will be high patient satisfaction. In consumer terms what ...

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