Due to pressures inherent in the current health care environment, health professionals’ interactions with patients may be limited to attending to the disease process by using the scientific method of clinical reasoning. Health professionals may find it difficult to break out of this pattern of reductionistic thinking and acting to use other forms of clinical reasoning and to elicit patients’ perceptions of the illness experience. Older adults and their families are particularly susceptible to being treated in a routine, diseasefocused manner. A growing body of literature gives voice to the stories and concerns of these persons. The purposes of this paper are to discuss thinking and clinical reasoning from several perspectives and to identify selections from literature that enhance understanding of the need to pay attention to both the disease and the illness experience and to use all forms of clinical reasoning.

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