Printer Friendly

Physicians writing off "demented" patients too soon.

Physicians Writing Off "Demented" Patients Too Soon

Careless labelling of an elderly patient as "demented" can send the patient on a downward spiral ending up as a self-fulfilling prophecy, Rosemary Lubinski, Ed.D., noted. She is an associate professor in the department of communicative disorders and sciences at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

This "learned helplessness" can be avoided, she emphasizes, if physicians take pains to document their diagnosis of dementia more carefully.

"Once a patient is so labelled, it becomes permanent," Dr. Lubinski complains. "I have never seen someone become `undemented.'"

If the labelling is inaccurate, patients can come to see themselves as more incompetent than they really are, and be treated by health care providers as such," she noted. "This can lead to lethal consequences."

Dr. Lubinski also lamented the fact that half of all patients diagnosed as demented and admitted to long-term care die within one year. They become victims of "learned helplessness," leading to a social breakdown syndrome.

Dr. Lubinski offered several suggestions for avoiding such cases of misdiagnosis. She urged mandatory examination of hearing and vision, avoidance of treating elderly patients as demented only because of age alone. She also advises encouraging patients to live "normal" lives, with an emphasis on independent living and social involvement.
COPYRIGHT 1990 Vegetus Publications
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Nutrition Health Review
Date:Jan 1, 1990
Previous Article:MSG food flavoring may be linked to dementia disorders.
Next Article:The war against contamination.

Related Articles
Depression or Dementia?
Dementia and Driving: An Annotated Bibliography [*].
Dementia's unreliable sources. (Clinical Capsules).
PET scans can illuminate crucial components in dementia Dx. (New Algorithm Offers Better Accuracy).
Change perspective to resolve dementia behaviors. (Look to Person, Environment for Clues).
Most elderly dementia patients should be asked about pain more often. (Use Behavioral Cues).
Orally disintegrating olanzapine for the treatment of psychotic and behavioral disturbances associated with dementia. (Case Report).
Vascular disease focus might slow dementia.
Monitoring patients for driving safety is critical: drivers with dementia have a twofold increased risk of crashing, vs. their age-matched...
Atypical antipsychotics still used after warning: pattern probably reflects perceptions that clinical benefits outweigh risks for older dementia...

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters