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Handbook of Communication in Oncology and Palliative
Care$
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David Kissane, Barry Bultz, Phyllis Butow, and Ilora Finlay

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199238361

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199238361.001.0001

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Issues for cognitively impaired elderly patients

Issues for cognitively impaired elderly patients

Chapter:
(p.547) Chapter 47 Issues for cognitively impaired elderly patients
Source:
Handbook of Communication in Oncology and Palliative Care
Author(s):

Andrew Roth

Christian Nelson

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199238361.003.0047

There are very real and practical difficulties of communication with older cancer patients. Cancer increases in prevalence steadily as people get older and it occurs in many different body sites. Communication difficulties become compounded with older patients who have to deal with multiple deficits, including sensory losses and physical frailty. These issues become extremely challenging and frustrating when those older patients have cognitive deficits and begin losing, or have lost, aspects of their autonomy and independence. The challenge for oncology staff is to know how to communicate appropriately with patients in various circumstances. Physicians can work together with the elderly patient to improve the quality of communication during the medical encounter. This chapter reviews the small communication literature from the fields of geriatric psychiatry and cognitive disorders. It also looks at case studies and provides practical solutions for common problems that arise when communicating with the elderly who are cognitively impaired.

Keywords:   communication, older patients, cancer patients, oncology, geriatric psychiatry, cognitive disorders, cognitive deficits

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