Older Patients Want Information

Published Online: Thursday, September 1, 2005

A recent poll of 600 mostly older adults with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) found that most patients want as much information on their disease as they can get, but they would prefer leaving the treatment choices to their physicians. The poll showed nearly universal agreement that patients should get full information about RA, including its physical effects, the side effects of any medications, and details about any laboratory tests their doctors may order for them. The majority of those polled thought that their doctors should initiate discussions about these issues, however, rather than waiting for the patients to ask about them. About 22% thought that their doctors had not given them enough information on RA and its treatment.

The poll also showed that patients preferred not to take the lead in making decisions regarding treatment. In fact, 75% agreed that "important medical decisions" should be made by their doctors, and even more thought that their doctors should take greater control as the RA grew worse.

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