The Portal of Geriatrics Online Education

Psychological, Social, and Spiritual Needs in Geriatric Care (Mrs. Kowalska)

Psychological, Social, and Spiritual Needs in Geriatric Care (Mrs. Kowalska)

 Rachelle Bernacki, MD, Tia Kostas, MD, Harvard University, Shellie Williams, MD, University of Chicago
 Amit Shah, MD; Carol Howe, MD, MLS; Kathryn Callahan, MD; Cynthia Brown, MD, MSPH; Rosanne Leipzig, MD, PhD
Tue, 05/07/2013 - 4:17pm
Date Updated:  
Tue, 05/07/2013 - 4:17pm

Faculty Guides (Available to Confirmed Faculty Only)

Mrs. Kowalska is a 70-year-old woman with end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) on oxygen therapy for over 2 years. She lives alone in her own home and ambulates primarily via wheelchair. About four months ago, Dr. Hacker, who has been her PCP for several years, suggested hospice care to the patient after witnessing her rapid functional decline. Mrs. Kowalska agreed to Dr. Hacker’s suggestion and, since hospice care was initiated, she has received: weekly volunteer services, twice-weekly visits from a home nurse, home aide services for 8hrs/week, one visit from the chaplain and two more visits from Dr. Hacker.

Dr. Hacker has asked you to accompany the patient’s hospice nurse on a home visit. The goal of today’s visit is to complete a psychosocial history, spiritual history and non-pain review of symptoms, and come up with a plan to improve Mrs. Kowalska’s quality of life.





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Link to Case:
Suggested Citation:
Rachelle Bernacki, MD, Tia Kostas, MD, Harvard University and Shellie Williams, MD, University of Chicago. Psychological, Social, and Spiritual Needs in Geriatric Care (Mrs. Kowalska). POGOe - Portal of Geriatrics Online Education; 2013 Available from:

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