Every day, thousands of our elderly are admitted into hospitals with strokes, heart attacks, hip fractures, dehydration, and infections.
One day mom is playing Mahjong with the ladies. The next she is in the hospital… and her life will never be the same. For elders and their families, a hospital admission can be a nightmarish experience –– almost a twilight zone to some. You are bombarded with terms like Medicare, Medicaid, utilization review, IPRO, case managers, rehabilitation centers, and acute care.
In many hospitals, the elderly are treated as people in transition. The hospital’s philosophy is “patch them up and send them to rehab.” Discharge planners care very little about whether an elder is going to a good nursing home or a bad one, as long as they can empty a bed.
Before even considering placement in a nursing home, or a return home, it is imperative to deal with what can happen in a hospital.
Risks elderly patients face when hospitalized
Lack of Proper Diagnosis –– Hospitals usually deal only with the issues that an elder comes in with. An elder who comes in with a broken hip is rarely seen by a geriatric physician who would be able to determine if the elder has other challenges or issues. Unfortunately, many elders wind up in nursing homes for rehabilitation with diagnoses that the accepting facility is not equipped to handle. This can be risky. Most times, the patient’s own physicians are not consulted, especially if they don’t have privileges at the hospital.
Bedsores (Decubitis Ulcers) –– Elders can develop bedsores quite rapidly. If they remain in bed for long periods of time without being turned, they can develop bedsores that are not only extremely are painful, but that can hamper an elder’s rehab and cause severe and long-lasting harm.
Anti-psychotic Drugs –– Many hospitals are too quick to impose chemical restraints to control the behavior of elderly patients through the use of drugs like Haldol™, Adavan™, and other anti-psychotic drugs. These drugs are routinely dispensed without the input of a geriatrician and without the knowledge of the caregivers.
Poor Nutrition and Dehydration –– In many cases, the elderly are not fed or hydrated properly. Trays are placed in front of them. If they need to be fed or encouraged to eat, they are on their own. Full trays are removed with no questions asked. Dieticians, in some cases don’t even ask what an elder can eat, or should not eat. Just circle your choices on the menu.
Physician Services and Communication –– Although elders are assigned attending physicians upon admission, these attending physician are phantoms. Almost all communication is between the family and residents or nurses. If your elder has a fractured hip, for instance, he/she will be assigned an attending physician who is a surgeon. These doctors are always in surgery during the day, and rarely see patients at night. They deal through their residents. In many cases, these residents have absolutely no experience with geriatric patients. Trying to get the attending physician by phone is close to futile.
Staff Shortages –– All hospitals struggle with staff shortages. This is an enormous problem when dealing with patients who need more services than younger patients do. Trying to get basic services can be very difficult.
Call My Elder Advocate at 212-945-7550 the Moment Your Elder Family Member is Hospitalized
My Elder Advocate has dealt with hundreds of hospital cases. We have an exceptional track record of success in avoiding the risks of a hospital stay for an elder. My Elder Advocate ensures that elders:
- Do NOT develop bedsores
- Are not chemically restrained
- Have open communications with the attending physician
- Consult with a Geriatrician
- Receive proper hydration and nutrition
With 40 years of experience dealing with hospitals and nursing homes. My Elder Advocate ensures your elder’s rights are protected at all times.