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Education for Older Adults: A Patient’s Perspective


America’s healthcare system is considered one of the most inefficient and expensive in the world. Due to overinflated expenses on nursing care, hospitals are looking for alternative avenues to reduce the rates of hospitalization, decrease costs, and prevent potential diseases from developing. Many prospective interventions and treatments measure patient reactions and ask for their opinions. In the majority of the cases, patients report satisfaction and better quality of life. However, this trend does not translate well into real life, as the fact that patients and clinicians alike are taking part in the experiment mobilizes them and makes them perform better than they actually do in day-to-day operations. At the same time, learning how patients view the services provided to them is key to realizing the actual state of events. The purpose of this paper is to reflect on the results of the interview about patient education.

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Interview Resume

The person whom I interviewed was a 66-year-old man. The interview featured several questions regarding instructions after an illness or operation, prescription of dietary advice, medication advice, and exercises, as well as information about community organizations and home assistance. As I discovered, the actual state of elderly home care in my district was worse than initially anticipated. Although the patient confirmed that doctors did educate him on the use of medicine, the prescription was made in hard-to-read handwriting, which forced him to memorize the instructions to the best of his ability. Advice on dietary choices was very basic, and no exercise regimen was recommended due to increased workload and other patients waiting in the queue. The man did not know about any support groups and community resources in his area, nor did a nurse visit him in his home. He reported that the local hospital called him once a year to ask about his health, but the conversation usually lasted for less than 2 minutes.


As it was made clear from this interview, the issues with patient education begin by visiting their treating nurses and doctors. Due to being overworked, as is the case with 60%-70% of nurses in the USA, physicians can give only about 15 minutes to each individual patient, which is barely enough to make a preliminary analysis, provide a diagnosis, and offer a list of prescriptions (Duffield, Roche, Homer, Buchan, & Dimitrelis, 2014). Because of this trend, there is no time for patient education, which leaves many elderly adults without knowledge about self-care and medication management. The same goes for community-services available in the area. The lack of home-based services is likely related to a lack of funding from the state and the federal budget for home care services. According to budget reports for the majority of the states, home care expenditures vary between 0.7 to 1 USD per patient per year (Eiken, Sredl, Burwell, & Woodward, 2017). These two factors result in older adults being isolated from services and patient education available to them.


Patient education is an important tool that can reduce re-hospitalization rates and promote preventive actions against many diseases and treatment complications. At the same time, overworking and the lack of funding reduce the effectiveness of patient education for older adults. In order to overcome this problem, it is necessary to increase recruiting, reduce nurse turnover rates, and dedicate additional funding to home care.


Duffield, C.M., Roche, M.A., Homer, C., Buchan, J., & Dimitrelis, S. (2014). A comparative review of nurse turnover rates and costs across countries. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 70(12), 2703-2712.

Eiken, S., Sredl, K., Burwell, B., & Woodward, R. (2017). Medicaid expenditures for long-term services and supports (LTSS) in FY 2015. Web.

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