Seniors Can Choose Wisely

I learned something valuable working in the hospice field for many years – not all medical tests are necessary. I’ve come to ask my doctor, “If you perform this test, will it change the plan of care?” “Do the health risks outweigh the benefits of the test or treatment?”

“7 Medical Procedures You Don’t Need,” is an article in the May 2012 AARP Bulletin (www.aarp.org) about unnecessary medical procedures and tests that have been identified by physicians as part of the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) (www.abim.org) Foundation’s Choosing Wisely campaign. They are:

  1. EKGs and stress tests for healthy people without symptoms.
  2. Bone density scans for osteoporosis for women under 65 and men under 70 with no risk factors.
  3. Antibiotics for mild to moderate sinus infections.
  4. NSAID painkillers for people with high blood pressure, heart failure and any chronic kidney disease.
  5. CT scans and other imaging for uncomplicated headaches.
  6. Dubious diagnostic tests for suspected allergies.
  7. X-ray, CT scan or MRI for low back pain.

If more seniors and their families asked similar questions to those posed above, they might have lower healthcare costs, and be less at risk of potentially dangerous or unwanted side effects and exposures.

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