News Release

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Free Publication Helps Older Hispanics Improve Doctor/Patient Communication

How well patients and doctors talk to each other is one of the most important parts of getting good health care. As we get older, it becomes even more important to talk often and comfortably with the doctor. Unfortunately, talking to the doctor isn’t always easy. It takes time and effort. A new publication from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) can help older adults learn to communicate more effectively with their doctors.

Conversando con su médico is a 38-page Spanish-language publication that includes information on:

  • Choosing a doctor,  
  • Communicating effectively with the doctor and other health care providers,
  • Working with an interpreter,
  • Discussing sensitive issues such as incontinence or sexuality, and
  • Finding additional health information in Spanish.

Older Hispanic consumers worked with the NIA to develop this book. They cited a hesitancy to approach their personal doctors with their health concerns due to communication barriers and a fear of worrying their doctors and/or their families. They felt that this book would help them prepare for a visit with their physicians. According to one participant, “After reading this book, I feel more confident that I will be able to talk with my doctor.”

Although they felt their physicians were a good resource, participants acknowledged difficulty in sharing information with their doctors because of time limitations on their visits. They agreed that patients should have questions ready to ask their doctors and that such questions would help make their time with the doctor more productive.

To order a free copy of Conversando con su médico, please call the NIA Information Center toll free at 1-800-222-2225 Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Information specialists are available to respond to inquiries in both English and Spanish. You also may order this and other Spanish-language materials on the NIA Web site at

The NIA, part of the National Institutes of Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, leads the federal research effort on the conditions and diseases associated with aging. The Institute is committed to making health information available to older Hispanic Americans and their families.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

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