Imagine patient-centered care explained as a kind of updated Norman Rockwell painting. What you’d get is a recent PBS documentary, Rx: The Quiet Revolution, which, yes, uses a famous Rockwell image of a kindly family physician (Doctor and Doll) to set the stage for what follows. Putting patient-centeredness into practice The 90-minute film, available for viewing online, features four extraordinary stories of inspiring health care providers working in Maine, Mississippi, ...

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I never thought it would go on for so long -- seeing Donald Wyatt, I mean. I certainly didn't plan it this way. More than six years ago, I retired at age sixty-six from my social work job at a mental-health agency. Donald had been my client there for about eight years. As I was cleaning out my office, his mother called. She explained how Donald's father had left when Donald was ...

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“Nobody does this …” Dr. D said as a greeting as he walked in holding the 700-word letter I had sent him some weeks before my periodic physical examination. Half the letter addressed six issues that had arisen during the year and a half since my last physical. I thought, nearing age 62, that it’d be both efficient and prudent to provide my GP an update on my health experiences. Half ...

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An excerpt from The Nurses: A Year of Secrets, Drama, and Miracles with the Heroes of the Hospital. The outdated caricature of the sexy nurse -- breasts straining buttons on a form-fitting white minidress, shapely legs slipped into white heels -- remains pervasive and global. Nurses say it also holds the profession back. Imagery that sexualizes nurses presents a difficult job requiring ...

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"He's just expired," said the nurse as I approached Ray's room in the large inner-city hospital where I work as a patient advocate. "And his wife has just arrived. Why don't you go in?" I found Natalie bent over Ray's body. His hollow cheek was drenched with her tears. "I'm so sor --" "I told him yesterday to talk to Jesus," Natalie interrupted, speaking quickly. "I told him if the two of them ...

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Managing diabetes is all about control: controlling what you eat, when you eat, and the amount of insulin you give yourself. As someone with type 1 diabetes, I understand how control over one’s blood glucose levels is vital to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. When I was hospitalized due to a car accident, however, I saw how the hospital’s desire to control my care ended up costing my insurance company more ...

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There are a lot of frustrated and unhappy people out there when it comes to their perception of health care today. The contemporary practice of medicine is changing, rapidly, and those changes have been a challenge for patients and  physicians alike. The list of reasons for this is lengthy. Certainly physicians and hospitals are finding it difficult at times to meet all the changes and demands put on them, by ...

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One winter afternoon during my first year as a hospice volunteer, I drove slowly through the kind of neighborhood where the only people you see during the day are landscapers, contractors and housecleaning services and where one house is grander than the next. I was looking for the ranch house where Bobby had been living since his diagnosis. Most people I visit, as a hospice volunteer, are my senior by 20 ...

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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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