Elderly Being Discharged From Hospital
Once admitted to a hospital, chances are good that your elderly parents will have a short stay. Whether post surgery or recovering from an illness, all patients are discharged from the hospital sooner these days. Hospitals want to turnover rooms for new patients.
For older adults, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing! The hospital isn’t the best place for a restful recovery, with the bright lights and noisy corridors. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that 700,000 American patients each year contract an infection during hospitalization, and seniors are at higher risk. Many senior patients also develop hospitalization delirium, a state of confusion and disorientation that sometimes occurs after surgery or a serious illness. Usually, this delirium is temporary due to confusion, medications, and recovery process.
Hospital care also is very expensive, both for patients and for Medicare. There is strong financial incentive is to move patients into a less acute care setting as soon as possible, and to avoid unnecessary return trips to the hospital which may be subject to Medicare penalty. However, statistics tell us that one in five hospitalized Medicare patients is readmitted within a month of discharge, which has a huge Medicare cost. Medicare has been penalizing hospitals whose readmission rates are too high so as to re-coop some of the subsidized medical expenses.
After discharge, some seniors go to a nursing home, rehabilitation facility or similar care setting. Others are discharged directly to their own house or apartment, or come home after a short rehab stay.
The big question is this: Can the elderly recover successfully at home? Is there support in place? Who will assist these patients during their recovery?
The answer is that both family caregivers and home care agencies step in to help.
Are family members ready for the challenge? Many times, elderly parents are suffering from the effects of a major health event such as a stroke, heart attack or hip fracture—AND, may also be experiencing post-hospital surgical pain, grogginess and weakness. This puts them at higher risk of infection and falls.
Family caregivers are necessary, and may be well-intentioned, but lacking proper training to handle such tasks. Professional services provided by Home Care Partners and our home health aide staff are crucial to support and nuture the recovery of elderly at home.
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John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions.
Phone: (781) 378-2164