Follow Us:

Have Questions?
We have Answers

Click Here to send us a question
and to receive answers from our Experts

Does a Physician Handle Emotional Issues of Seniors?

by Edward Leigh, Patient Communications Expert
December 28, 2012

Question: I am preparing my grandfather for his first doctor’s visit in years. Should he just be talking about his physical concerns or is he allowed to talk about his emotional worries too?

Answer: Thank you for writing.  Of course, your father must feel free to discuss all his physical concerns with his physician.  Your father should also feel free to discuss emotional concerns, however the physician may be in the role of referrer rather than a direct source of help.

The physical and emotional components are often intertwined, such as the emotional stress of having a chronic illness. For example, cancer is a physical illness that takes an emotional toll on patients.  

Your father’s physician is most likely not in a position to offer a lengthy counseling session, however he / she should be empathic and caring.  

Your father’s physician may handle emotional concerns is several ways, including offering both counseling and pharmaceutical options.  I am always concerned about only offering medications without the addition of other treatments, such as a referral to a counselor. In many cases, no pharmaceutical intervention is needed and what is needed is a referral to a trained counselor who can listen and help work through issues.  

Good luck to your father.

Have a Question? Submit here.

Edward Leigh, MA, focuses on helping patients and healthcare professionals effectively communicate with each other. Excellent communication skills dramatically enhance patient satisfaction and safety. He presents high-energy and informative programs for hospitals, healthcare associations, medical practices, government organizations and universities. He is also an in-demand consultant and coach. He has a master’s degree in health education.

See more of Edward Leigh's expert answers

Your Answers and Comments

Post your answer or comment
You must be logged in to post a comment

Previous Expert Q & A

More Previous Expert Q&A