Health Tool Kit: Reliable Resources

Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 11.31.13 AMHealth Tool Kit: Reliable Resources to guide older adults to learn about medical stuff.

Doesn’t it just make sense that you would learn as much as you can about a medical concern? That information is readily available. Credible. Reliable. Current. Medical information you can trust – and your doctor should too!

Have you ever heard these exclamations by your medical practitioner? “Be careful of what you read on the internet. That’s just internet hype.  You can’t trust what you read; why do you keep researching this; you should stop researching  – it just scares people…. ”

Has the staff at your doctor’s office looked at you like you were the crazy, nagging spouse who interferes with doctor / patient discussions? Have you left a medical appointment wanting to dig deeper into understanding an illness, medication, or treatment plan?  Do you feel a nagging suspicion you can learn more about what ails you or a loved one?

Here’s part of my story: After 7 agonizing years of anguish,  Rick’s doctor at the Virginia Mason told me he had no idea what else to consider.  I begged the doctor to do more research. I begged him to consult with colleagues. His response: “I’m sorry, I have done that. I have no idea what else to do.  Clearly something is wrong. It is not psychological, but I don’t know what else to do.”  The truth is — he did not. Had he done his due diligence, he would have figured this out long before his final hand wave and massive blow off.  Proof? It’s on the Virginia Mason Website. I didn’t know it at the time. But he should have!

Honestly, if our doctors did any research on the symptoms presented  routinely years, we wouldn’t have had to do anything but check in and say Ahhh. But the docs don’t do discovery, and they never fully explain anything.  Of course, I am going to do research.  Wouldn’t you?

I sit here learning as much as I can about managing home health care, dealing with chronically ill spouse, and seeking a pathway through a horrific maze of no diagnosis, no cure, and worse – nowhere to turn for any help.  Dealing with trying to line up help. Disability Insurance takes nearly 2 years just to get a court date on an appeal? YOU BET I AM DOING MY DUE DILIGENCE.  Had the doctor’s been more diligent, this would never have dragged on and on … and on some more.

When your doctors can’t figure it out, and get uppity because you are doing research, something is wrong. Don’t you just want to scream: If you were doing your job, doctor, I wouldn’t have to do all this research!!!”  Or how about when you try to explain to a loved one exactly what the doc said — and you just get confused by all the questions.

OF COURSE, I AM ANGRY. I’m tired of the games. It’s what makes me an expert researcher. And it’s how I came across this toolkit.

This leads to the ultimate question about credibility. I found the ultimate solution for the private citizen.  I am not a medical professional — I learned healthy living, nutrition, and exercise — but I am a mere mortal. Just like you.

The National Insitute On Health and Aging has provided the solution. It’s a class in a toolkit format and I  offer this anywhere that the students have a computer and internet access.  I facilitate the total class, available to deliver as training class complete with handouts, tip sheet, and led training.  This 9 module class is designed to teach the older adult to use the readily available internet resources.  I didn’t write the class — but I will verify it. It’s really well put together.

One of the course resources is available to everyone at no cost, whether you take the class or not.
Did you know that you can get credible health information online, all the time? The next time a doctor or nurse disparages you for internet research, you just tell them that you got your information from the US NATIONAL LIBRARY OF MEDICINE – and that their information is the most up to date available.

MEDLINE PLUS is offered by the US National Library of Medicine — and provides a plethora of CURRENT and ACCURATE information on health topics, medicine, and more.

National Institute for health – Seniors  “This website will open the valuable resources of the NIH to great numbers of people over 60 who use the Internet to learn more about their health and aging.”
Richard J. Hodes, M.D.
Director, National Institute on Aging

What am I doing about it?  Well, for starters, I am offering this class. No one should feel intimidated by doctors, internet publications, or because they don’t’ want to offend their medical team. But we need to learn where to look for quality and accurate information.
My class offering:
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The National Institute on Aging has provided a toolkit targeting adults over 60 to help them find accurate, up-to-date online health information—on their own. It’s great for all adults and focuses on teaching older adults internet research skills – at their pace.

No more second guessing. Seniors, their families, and caregivers can easily:
• Build their Internet skills
• Search websites at the National Institutes of Health for health and wellness information
• Learn to evaluate the quality of online health information

First of all, there are many resources online. We all know about WebMD — a for-profit medical resource which usually pops up in the first few hits. We also know about all the other for-profit sites or adjunct sites from well-known hospitals. The Mayo Clinic, for one, offers a myriad of great health information.

But how often do we go to the doctor with a little research in our pockets — only to be warned that the “internet” isn’t a good source. And the truth is these doctors go to the internet or to other doctors who then go to the internet. With information so readily available, the doctor’s disdain is not only unwarranted, it is highly suspect of being ego driven.

If you would like to provide this program at your organization for a reasonable price, please contact me as soon as possible. I’m scheduling the next quarter now.  You can offer this as an employee incentive, and it may qualify you for a tax discount along with other employee wellness incentive programs.