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Vagueness is a common condition among the elderly. It can appear as forgetting appointments or not remembering whether lunch has been eaten or not. It can be an early sign of dementia.
Vagueness can also be intentionally used by people of all ages. For example, when someone doesn’t wish to disclose full details of something such as the extent of a bad habit e.g.
How many units of alcohol do you drink per week?
Oh, it’s hard to say, not that many.
Sometimes, the difficulty for the health profession, is deciding whether the vagueness is intentional or not.
Do you have any idea how a squeamish patient is feeling?
What about if you know the context is a nurse cleaning a deep leg wound after the patient tripped and fell at work. Removing the bandage there is a lot of blood.
Often it’s the sight of blood or the thought of having an injection that can make them feel this way. They are likely to make a face and turn away when they think or know either of these situations are likely.
Did you know that some English punctuation symbols have a level of formality? Some symbols are neutral. These have to be used whenever we write such as full stops, question marks and capital letters but even these can get missed off or used incorrectly in certain types of informal writing. Colons and semi-colons definitely belong to the formal types of writing while exclamation marks belong to informal types of writing!!!
Brackets or parentheses are fairly neutral but are most regularly seen in informal writing as a means of adding extra ideas to the main point. They can often be replaced by commas.
In the example in the image above, the brackets can be replaced with commas:
Miss Wang is prescribed Amoxicillin, 1g twice daily, and Omeprazole, 20mg twice daily.
Alternatively, as the frequency of the dose is the same, the sentence could be improved further to:
Miss Wang is prescribed Amoxicillin, 1g, and Omeprazole, 20mg, both to be taken twice daily.