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Third of elderly patients take companion to see doctor

HealthDay/Washington Post, July 16, 2008

More than one-third of elderly patients on Medicare take a companion with them for routine medical visits, and patients who are accompanied on such visits tend to be more satisfied, according to a study. More than 60% of companions helped with doctor-patient communications by writing down instructions, giving information on the patients' medical conditions or needs, asking questions or explaining doctors' instructions. Patients who were accompanied on visits were 15% more satisfied with their doctor's technical skills, 19% more satisfied with the doctors' information-giving, and 18% more satisfied with their personal skills compared with unaccompanied patients, the study found.