Factors Associated with the Patient-Doctor Relationship for Elderly Veterans with Inadequate Health Literacy

Wednesday, 1 August 2012: 8:50 AM

Chun Yu Liang, RN
Nursing Department, National Defense of Medical Center, Taipei, Taiwan

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to understand the patient-doctor relationships of elderly veterans with inadequate health literacy.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to understand the factors related to the relationships between these individuals and doctors.


The patient–doctor relationship in elderly veterans with inadequate health literacy has not been studied. This study aimed to explore the relationships between these individuals and doctors, as well as related predictors.


 In this cross-sectional study, convenience sampling from four veterans’ homes was used and the data were collected using questionnaires. A total of 286 elderly veterans completed the test of health literacy; among them, 256 individuals (> 90%) had inadequate health literacy and were selected for this study. We tested the demographic characteristics, depression status, health belief and previous medical experience to identify the related factors of the Patient–Doctor Relationship.


The patient–doctor relationship was rated between “appropriate” and “mostly appropriate”. Multiple regression analyses showed that perceived doctor facilitation, depression, and health locus of control were associated with patient–doctor relationships of elderly veterans. Furthermore, perceived doctor facilitation of patient involvement in medical care was the most important variable, explaining a total variance of 13.4%.


Helping individual with inadequate health literacy to involve health-care process is a useful way for healthcare providers to improve the patient-doctor relationship. This study identified veterans with inadequate health literacy, provided clinically useful information, and supported further evaluation in the area of patient–doctor relationships. The prompt identification of these veterans by health-care professionals and their early involvement may improve the level of dedicated time, and thus enhance their patients’ satisfaction, health status, and quality of life.