Whose Advocacy Counts in Shaping Elderly Patients' Satisfaction with Physicians' Care and Communication?


PURPOSE: The purpose of this article was to examine the relative importance of patients’ self-advocacy and perceived physicians’ advocacy for impacting patients’ satisfaction in terms of physician communication and physician-patient relationship. We also examine the influence of physicians’ emotional support and patients’ demographic as well as health characteristics on patients’ satisfaction. SAMPLE: Our sample includes interviews with 806 community dwelling older adults (mean age =77.82 years, SD=8.41). The sample included residents of a large retirement community in Clearwater, FL, USA. Respondents were also included from representative samples of older adults living in Orlando and Miami, FL, USA, and Cleveland, OH, USA. METHODS AND RESULTS: Using multiple hierarchical regression analyses, we found that patients’ age and functional limitations were negatively associated with their care satisfaction. When compared with White patients, African-American patients were less satisfied with their physicians while Latino patients expressed greater satisfaction with their medical care. We found limited evidence of patients’ self-advocacy and such advocacy did not serve as a significant predictor of satisfaction with physicians. In contrast, patients’ perception of physicians’ readiness to act as patient advocates was a significant predictor of patients’ satisfaction. Emotional support of physicians was also associated with patients’ satisfaction. CONCLUSION: These findings raise questions about consumer empowerment among older adults and underscore their desire for and appreciation of physicians’ advocacy. Findings are discussed in the context of power imbalance between elderly patients and their doctors.

Clinical Interventions in Aging
Jiao Yu
Jiao Yu
Postdoctoral Associate

Aging and Life Course, Health Disparities, Machining Learning, Quantitative Methods