Ninety-nine practicing physicians, house officers, and medical students were given a brief questionnaire assessing knowledge of geriatric issues. These subjects underestimated the average life expectancy of 75-year-old women by a mean of five years. Half of the respondents estimated the half-life of diazepam to be 12 hours or less, compared to the correct answer of approximately 70 hours. Half of the respondents stated that they would not treat with antihypertensive medications a 75-year-old woman with a blood pressure of 200/80. Those who would not treat underestimated to a greater extent the life expectancy of 75-year-old women than those who would treat (p <.01). Thus there seems to be considerable misinformation among the physicians sampled about some basic facts regarding geriatrics, and this ignorance may be linked to a less than optimal therapeutic approach to the elderly patient.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- Sociology and Political Science
- Life-span and Life-course Studies