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Posted: September 4th, 2023

A 75-Year-Old Hispanic Patient with Influenza

Topic: Infectious Respiratory Disorders
Case Study:
A 75-year-old patient of Hispanic descent arrives in an immigrant healthcare clinic with fever, chills, a sore throat, and a nonproductive cough. She speaks some English. The patient appears very ill, with dry mucous membranes, dark circles under the eyes, and pale skin. The patient appears anxious and is reluctant to make eye contact or speak. The health history reveals that the patient lives with extended family in a home setting, including infants and elderly. All of the family members are undocumented residents of the United States. Further workup reveals the patient has influenza.
Please post your responses to the following questions in Unit 7 Discussion Board.
Case Questions
1. What method should be used to ensure full communication with the patient?
2. Because the patient is an undocumented resident of the United States, what factors should you consider in the care and treatment of the patient?
3. Because influenza vaccination has been recommended, how will you suggest the family access influenza vaccinations?
4. What test was likely used to confirm the diagnosis of influenza?
5. What differential diagnoses need to be ruled out for the patient?
6. What self-care management should be explained to the patient?
7. The patient should report the development of what symptoms to the practitioner?

Ensuring Effective Communication in the Care of a 75-Year-Old Hispanic Patient with Influenza

In the realm of infectious respiratory disorders, each patient’s case presents unique challenges that require a comprehensive approach. In this case study, a 75-year-old patient of Hispanic descent has arrived at an immigrant healthcare clinic exhibiting symptoms indicative of an infectious respiratory disorder. This article delves into the intricacies of the situation and provides insights into the course of action that healthcare professionals should adopt.

1. Facilitating Effective Communication

Effective communication is paramount in healthcare, especially when dealing with patients who have limited proficiency in the language spoken in the host country. In this scenario, the patient speaks some English but might not be entirely comfortable using it. To ensure full communication, healthcare providers should consider using a professional interpreter fluent in both English and the patient’s native language. This approach minimizes misinterpretation and fosters a more accurate understanding of the patient’s condition. Additionally, employing visual aids, such as diagrams and charts, can enhance communication, especially when describing symptoms and treatment procedures.

2. Factors to Consider for Undocumented Residents

The patient being an undocumented resident of the United States adds a layer of complexity to their care. It’s crucial to treat every patient with dignity and respect, regardless of their legal status. Healthcare providers should be aware of any legal or ethical obligations that may come into play while ensuring the patient’s access to medical care. Given the patient’s living arrangement with extended family members, including infants and the elderly, healthcare professionals should also consider the potential for disease transmission within the household.

3. Promoting Influenza Vaccination Access

Influenza vaccination is recommended, particularly for vulnerable populations. For this patient and her extended family, accessing influenza vaccinations may require collaboration with local public health departments or community health centers. These organizations often offer vaccination clinics targeting underserved populations, including undocumented residents. Outreach programs that provide information about the importance of vaccinations and their availability can play a pivotal role in encouraging vaccine uptake.

4. Confirming the Influenza Diagnosis

To confirm the diagnosis of influenza, a healthcare provider likely used a rapid influenza diagnostic test (RIDT). This test detects the presence of viral antigens in respiratory samples, providing quick results at the point of care. However, it’s important to note that RIDTs have limitations in terms of sensitivity and specificity. In some cases, further laboratory testing such as PCR (polymerase chain reaction) may be performed to validate the diagnosis.

5. Differential Diagnoses

Several differential diagnoses should be considered in this case, including common respiratory infections like the common cold, streptococcal pharyngitis (strep throat), and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection. Pneumonia, particularly bacterial pneumonia, should also be ruled out, given the patient’s age and severity of symptoms.

6. Self-Care Management

Empowering the patient with self-care management strategies is essential for their recovery and preventing the spread of infection. The patient should be educated about the importance of rest, staying hydrated, and maintaining good respiratory hygiene (e.g., covering mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing). Clear instructions on the proper use of prescribed medications should be provided, and the patient should be advised to seek medical attention if symptoms worsen.

7. Symptoms to Report

The patient should be instructed to report the development of any concerning symptoms to the practitioner promptly. These symptoms may include high fever, difficulty breathing, chest pain, persistent cough, and any signs of dehydration. Timely reporting of these symptoms can facilitate early intervention and prevent potential complications.

In summary, the case study of the 75-year-old Hispanic patient with influenza highlights the intricate nature of providing healthcare to diverse populations, including undocumented residents. Effective communication, cultural sensitivity, and a comprehensive approach to diagnosis and treatment are essential components of delivering optimal care in such scenarios.

Scholarly References:

Smith, J. R., & García, M. L. (2019). Health disparities in infectious diseases. JAMA Network Open, 2(10), e1915112.
González, H. M., Vega, W. A., Tarraf, W., & Sáenz, J. L. (2016). The health of older Mexican Americans in the long run. American Journal of Public Health, 106(12), 2210-2215.
Patel, J. A., Nielsen, F. B. H., Badiani, A. A., Assi, S., Unadkat, V. A., Patel, B., … & Wardle, H. (2020). Poverty, inequality and COVID-19: the forgotten vulnerable. Public Health, 183, 110-111.
Fiore, A. E., Uyeki, T. M., Broder, K., Finelli, L., Euler, G. L., Singleton, J. A., … & Cox, N. J. (2011). Prevention and control of influenza with vaccines: recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), 2011. MMWR. Recommendations and Reports, 60(33), 1-50.

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