Getting old ain’t for sissies

These days we are talking more about advanced directives and living wills in health care. This is progress, but as a member of the sandwich generation, I am focused on the aging process. I don’t have kids, but I have parents and have the honor of watch…

The elderly couple who bought vitamins at the grocery store

I recently stopped by our local grocery store after work to pick up a handful of items to bring home. With only four items in hand, I luckily found a short checkout line behind this lovely elderly couple who were almost done and ready to pay. As they s…

Here’s what caregiving taught me

Caregiving is often described as a sacrifice. One individual bears a burden to care for another. There’s a connotation of drainage, evocations of burned-out batteries and tired limbs. I was a premedical student. I was aggressive in pursuing an MD…

Conversation with older patients is common sense

My 81-year-old patient came in several weeks ago and disclosed that he had stopped taking his aspirin after watching a news report on television. “They said I didn’t need it anymore,” he told me. I gently informed him that this news didn’t apply to him…

Podcast: KHN’s ‘What The Health?’ Insurance Enrollment Is Lagging — And There Are Lots Of Reasons Why

Sign-ups for insurance under the Affordable Care Act are still well behind last year’s mark with just a week until the end of open enrollment in most states. The Supreme Court declines a case that could have allowed states to defund Planned Parenthood. And the Trump administration gets hundreds of thousands of comments about its proposed changes to immigration rules that could penalize people who use government-funded health care and other social service programs. Alice Ollstein of Politico, Anna Edney of Bloomberg News and Rebecca Adams of CQ Roll Call join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and, for “extra credit,” provide their favorite health policy stories of the week.

Too much of a good thing when it comes to medicine for older adults

Prevailing wisdom states that more is better — and it is no different when it comes to our expectation of medical treatments. With the help of the internet, patients and their families have come to expect intensive tests, treatments and therapies at ev…

The day when the white coat can be worn with no hesitation at all

It was my first day of orientation at medical school. In a hallway stood a coat rack overflowing with white garments. I set down my accumulated papers, reached for a hanger and — for the first time ever — shrugged first one arm and then the other into …

There’s a good reason why we don’t see patients’ joy in the office

I like to think of myself as a relatively optimistic person.  If you have ever met me in person, you might think that I have a pretty sunny disposition on life.  And for the most part, I do.  Since I write every day, however, there are times when my po…

The surprising thing this patient was missing

She had everything she needed.  Her husband had died long ago.  But the fortune he left her would suffice.  She had given up on mansions long ago.  There were no children, so who needed the space?  She was happy as can be in her little condo in the cit…

MKSAP: 82-year-old woman with a 1-week history of urinary incontinence

Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. An 82-year-old woman is evaluated for a 1-week history of urinary incontinence with lower abdominal discomfort. She reports no dysuria, fever…

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