Neither I nor any of my family have any financial interest in any pharmaceutical or medical device company; nor am I receiving any retainer fees, etc. from them


Although evidence-based medical research is used as a basis for the information articles on this site, I must confess to certain biases.


(1) Just because a study has “statistically proven” a benefit for a drug/treatment, I do not always encourage it unless it ‘overwhelmingly’ is beneficial to a patient: in other words, a few percentage points of improvement compared to an alternative doesn’t mean everyone must use that drug/treatment, even though there may be established guidelines supporting it. Statistical benefit does not always translate into a clinical or personal benefit. In seniors, drugs have so many more side-effects that, for the drug to be safely helpful its benefit must really outweigh the risks.


(2) Philosophically, I am biased against non-comfort drugs in seniors and I encourage non-drug or a natural approach whenever possible. From personal observation, and from published studies, seniors feel better on fewer drugs. That’s not to say there aren’t helpful drugs—but caution is always advisable—the medical adage is “start low, go slow”.


(3) Finally, and most importantly, I believe once a person is over 70, life is meant to be enjoyed: eat and drink what you want; don’t be obsessed with taking a lot of “preventive” drugs or worrying about cholesterol; quality in life is more important than quantity of years (but each of us must choose what’s important for ourselves and must be able to live with the decision.) Within reason, seek things which will help you to be comfortable, avoid things which will not, and “let go and let God”, accepting whatever comes your way. [the problem is, “will your kids let you do this?”]

Dr. Robert J. Webb

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Dr. Robert J. Webb is Board Certified in both Family Medicine and in Palliative Medicine. He practices in Florence, AL where he is Medical Director of the Supportive & Palliative Care Service at Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital, a 292-bed facility, with a four-bed Palliative Care Unit that opened in 2006.  The Service achieved Joint Commission Certification in December, 2012—the only palliative care program in the State to be so certified.

Our PC Service team includes coordinator and article editor Cathy Shelton, RN (also the Grief Support Coordinator) who is really responsible for the Service’s success. Dr. Webb and Nurse Shelton are EPEC & ELNEC certified respectively and teach these and similar programs several times a year in the hospital and community.

He is also Medical Director of Lauderdale Christian Nursing Home; and Medical Director of Hospice of the Shoals, a not-for-profit hospice. He is a member of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, the American Academy of Family Practice, and the American and Alabama Medical Directors Associations.