Are elderly people exhibiting greater sensitivity to the nature of communication due to sneezing and nasal discharge?

Cingi C. C., Altin F.

EUROPEAN REVIEW FOR MEDICAL AND PHARMACOLOGICAL SCIENCES, vol.26, pp.49-52, 2022 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier


OBJECTIVE: Communication with elderly has always presented specific challenges which do not affect other groups. The aim of the study was to investigate how elderly patients perceive communication with doctors due to sneezing and nasal discharge, in particular during COVID-19 pandemic having personal protective equipment, including goggles, face shield, mask and hazard suits affects the quality of communication. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: 100 patients ( 50 male and 50 female), all over the age of 65 years, were enrolled as the study group. Elderly patients attending the otorhinolaryngology department, for any reason, were invited to participate in the study, which was carried out during the COVID-19 pandemic. A control group, consisting of 50 patients (male and female), and aged between 25 and 35 years, was also recruited in the same way. Communication questionnaire and Social Communication Skills Rating Scale were applied to all participants. RESULTS: The results indicate that patients sneezing, with nasal discharge symptoms, and doctors' use of personal protective equipment, including goggles, facial shields, masks and hazard suits and the precautions in behavior designed to protect the doctor during the COVID-19 pandemic were associated with negative effects on doctor-patient communication. CONCLUSIONS: It is a cultural expectation that seniors be invariably treated with respect. In the extraordinary circumstances of the current pandemic, clinicians need to pay even more attention than usual to how they communicate, to ensure that communication remains both effective and respectful at all times.