Clinical Assessment: Physical Examination

  • The health care worker needs to inform the Alaska Native older adult patient that an examination will be performed and should ask him/her for permission.
  • If a male physician is going to perform the procedure on a female patient, it will help to explain that a female physician is not available.
  • The health care worker may explain that there may be awkward or embarrassing moments in the exam.
    • The patient may wish to ask a daughter or granddaughter to accompany her to make the exam less awkward.
  • A male Alaska Native older adult patient can ask a son or grandson to accompany him if he desires.
  • To allow for the patient to maintain dignity, avoid direct eye contact, if possible. Allow the patient to cover up when talking.
  • Don’t stand too close, but rather off to the side and turned slightly.
  • The Alaska Native older adult patient will want to know the results (both good and bad) in broad terms, the treatment options, and the outcome if the treatment is not followed through.
  • Some older adult may use the phrase “feeling funny” as a way to describe a symptom or illness.