December 21, 2017 by Dean Bellefeuille

senior health care

Most of us desire the most effective senior health care for our loved ones, but is it possible that on occasion, less is the most beneficial? As reported by a recent study published in Plos One by Dr. Martin Makary, professor of surgery and health policy at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, a full 21% of medical care we receive is irrelevant – which means that millions of people put through various treatments, screenings and scans are obtaining little if any benefit. And these unwarranted senior health care services come at a cost: as much as $210 billion annually, as revealed by the National Academy of Medicine.

As a particular example, screening for survivors of early stage breast cancer commonly includes advanced imaging such as PET, CT and bone scans, and tumor marker screenings – while the American Society for Clinical Oncology expressly encouraged doctors in 2012 not to order these kinds of tests. But about half of patients within that criteria received these types of scans between 2007 and 2015.

The outcome is unnecessary pain, suffering, and financial expense for screenings and treatments that could have no bearing on enhancing or lengthening life, according to Dr. Lisa Schwartz, professor at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice. Dr. Rebecca Smith-Bindman, a University of California-San Francisco professor, takes this a bit further, expressing, “It’s just bad care.”

On account of the Choosing Wisely campaign, launched by the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation in 2012, awareness is being raised about unnecessary treatments. “Patients used to feel like ‘more is better,’” said Daniel Wolfson, Executive Vice President of the ABIM Foundation. “But sometimes less is more. Changing that mindset is a major victory.”

It’s important for everybody to be proactive in informing ourselves to the fullest extent possible about any sort of medical conditions our elderly loved ones are going through, and to talk to the healthcare team about any tests or procedures that are in question.

Are you aware that At Home Independent Living offers a variety of home care services, including transportation and accompaniment to healthcare visits and procedures, and serves as an advocate for elders to help ensure they’re receiving the very best possible medical care? Just some of the numerous ways we’re able to assist:

  • Give medication reminders
  • Pick up prescription medications
  • Make nourishing meals corresponding to any required dietary program
  • Assess the home for fall risks
  • Provide mobility and ambulation assistance
  • Be sure of safety during bath/shower time
  • And much more

Call us at 315.579.HOME or fill out our online contact form to learn more from our Fayetteville home health care team!