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November 24, 1978

Good Medical Care Is Caring

JAMA. 1978;240(22):2471. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03290220083029

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Infrequently is an article written by a patient or member of a patient's family published in The Journal. However, the contribution from Mary Kate House in this issue (p 2472) is an exception, for it is filled with wisdom and sound practical advice. She describes ideal care for the elderly and chronically ill in the environment of the patient's home, with devoted ministrations from the family members and friends. No nursing home, no staff of experts, and no government health scheme can provide the quality of care described in this article. Medical care is more than the application of technology and knowledge. It is, first of all, caring, and this component of medicine seems to be missing from much of what we do today.

Most neglected in this respect are the elderly ill and the incurable. Placed in long-term care facilities, they are often neglected by their physicians and their