Ethnogeriatric Assessment Domains: Problem/Condition-Specific Information

Ethnogeriatric Assessment Domains: Problem/Condition-Specific Information

A “problem” oriented format may be offensive and patronizing to many older American Indians as it implies a power differential between the health care “provider”(usually a member of the dominant society) and the “person with the problem”.

Explanatory Models of Illness

The importance of exploring beliefs concerning the causes and treatment of illness with the individual elder cannot be overstated. (See Assessment, Culture Med Ethnogeriatrics Overview) Examples of American Indian Explanatory Models for Dementia demonstrates the diversity of culturally mediated belief systems for only one chronic health problem. With information about the patient’s explanatory model, providers can plan culturally acceptable interventions and treatment strategies in a collaborative relationship with American Indian elders and their families.

Examples of questions that can be used to elicit the patient’s perspectives include:

  • What do you think caused your problem?
  • Why do you think it started when it did?
  • What do you call it?
  • What do you think your sickness does to your body/How does it work?