The Gerontologist, Vol 31, Issue 2 238-245, Copyright © 1991 by The Gerontological Society of America
Content and boundaries of medicine in long-term care: physicians talk about stroke
SR Kaufman and G Becker
Institute for Health & Aging, School of Nursing, University of California, San Francisco 94143.
Twenty physicians were interviewed about roles, treatments, goals, and
relationships with older patients, especially stroke patients. Findings
from this descriptive, anthropological investigation address the problem of
congruence between needs and existing services, and in doing so, recast the
ongoing debate about the medicalization of long-term care. This study
emphasized the nonmedical features of geriatric medicine in general and
stroke care in particular. In many instances, these physicians attempt to
bridge gaps between medical and emotional needs and clinical and social
services with social and psychotherapeutic as well as biomedical
interventions. Because we found physicians' activities with stroke patients
to be so broadly construed, treatment and management of stroke may be seen
as paradigmatic for the role of physicians in long-term care.