Want to know what’s wrong with the health care system for older adults in the US? It can be summed up in that 10-word response on a physician’s voice mail.
One evening last month, I got a panicked call from a friend: She came home from work and discovered that her widowed mother, who has been living with her for the past year, had—for the first time—an episode of bowel incontinence. Her mom, who was distressed and almost certainly embarrassed, wanted to go to the emergency department of the local hospital. What should her daughter do?