Communicating with Older Adults
Communicating with Older Adults: Recognizing Hidden Traps in Health Care Decision Making
This special publication provides an introduction to common heuristics (mental shortcuts) and biases (predictable systematic errors in reasoning) that could affect health care decisions made by older adults, health care providers, and caregivers. Select heuristics and biases are illustrated in hypothetical cases involving the use of nonprescription analgesics and the need for recommended immunizations; each case includes communication tips for overcoming the heuristic or bias. The objective is to encourage more productive decision-making conversations with older adults.
This publication is intended for physicians, physician assistants, nurses, pharmacists, psychologists, social workers, and other health care practitioners who seek to have the best possible interactions with older patients. Understanding the various heuristics and biases that affect our thinking can lead to more informed and productive decisions.
We wish to acknowledge the insights and contributions of four GSA representatives from different member sections who shaped this publication, which was developed by GSA and supported by McNeil Consumer Healthcare.