‘Medical Advocacy for Seniors’ Posts

Temporary memory loss strikes hospitalized seniors

April 18th, 2011 by Doris Bersing

dependent-100345_640Battling an illness, lack of sleep and strange surroundings can make any hospital patient feel out of sorts. Medical advocacy is key when having a senior in this condition. Hospitalization not only jeopardizes the general wellness of a senior but his/her dignity and self-confidence. Besides getting sicker at some point, seniors are usually placed on diapers to avoid labor-intensive trips to the bathroom and usually when confused, they are misunderstood on their needs. This article about how confused they can be and how memory loss occurs is the icing on the cake.

As we said, for seniors, hospitalizations actually may cause temporary memory loss and difficulty in understanding discharge instructions, according to a new Northwestern Medicine study.

The cited study found that seniors go back to normal one month after the hospital stay. But immediately following a hospitalization, it is a critical time in which seniors may need extra support from   professionals and family, according to Lee Lindquist, the lead author of the study, published online in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, March 2011.

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Six Questions to Protect Elderly Patients

July 5th, 2010 by Doris Bersing

On the Wellness section of the New York Times, Pam Belluck compile the advice of three experts  on the questions family members can ask to lower a patient’s risk for delirium during a hospital stay.

Pam says “…Many readers have asked me what family members can do to help lower an elderly patient’s risk. To find out, I turned to three experts –  Dr. Margaret Pisani at the Yale University School of Medicine, Dr. Wes Ely at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and Dr. Sharon Inouye at Harvard Medical School. Based on their advice, here are six questions family members should ask to lower an elderly patient’s risk for hospital delirium…”

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Not All Assisted Living Facilities Are Safe. A Report Describes How Elders Are Dying in Nursing Homes.

July 5th, 2010 by Doris Bersing

America’s largest elderly people live in California. 3.7 million over age 65. Most of these seniors live in institutions and although some of these facilities provide an outstanding care for many seniors,  a staggering number of others are being abused and neglected and even are dying on these residential care facilities. Some of these facilities are so eager to retain the residents that they ignore the issues that will need real medical care and well trained medical staff and keep the residents away from the needed care until it is too late.

Tanya McRae  conducted an investigative report on abuse and neglect of the elderly at skilled nursing facilities and nursing homes. In the video, one daughter shares her story of her mother’s horrific death, and attorneys explain staggering number of other criminal cases.

Watch the video

Caring for The Elder at Home: The Need For a New Paradigm.

June 29th, 2010 by Doris Bersing

Family meetingThe increasing number of people turning 65, the high number of elders with health constraints, and the sky-rocketing price of health care posits the question of how are we going to care for all the elders who constitute, today the upcoming silver tsunami?

More than 40 percent of adult patients in acute care hospital beds are 65 or older. Seventy million Americans will have turned 65 by 2030. They include the 85-and-older cohort, the nation’s fastest-growing age group. Elderly people often have multiple chronic illnesses, expensive to treat, and they are apt to require costly hospital re-admissions, sometimes as often as 10 times in a single year. Living Well Assisted Living at Home has designed a new model of comprehensive care that will help care for elders at home, including those who are frail, recovering from surgery, accidents or any illness. The model also strives to care for those suffering from dementia, at home.

In an article written by Milt Freudenheim for the Health section of the New York Times, in June 28, 2010, we find how geriatricians and other professionals are lobbying for best practices in the field of aging.  In the article it is stressed the fact of how “..to stay independent, the elderly will need to stay healthy. Many of these people could be back on the golf course and enjoying their grandchildren if we did the right thing for them,” said Mary D. Naylor, a longtime geriatric care researcher and professor of gerontology in the School of Nursing at the University of Pennsilvania. Her research showed that even fragile older people could avoid a quick return to the hospital if they are managed by teams of nurses, social workers, physicians and therapists, together with their own family members. Hospital re-admissions, which cost $17 billion a year, could be reduced by 20 percent — $3.5 billion — or more, she said…” Obviously a new approach to care for the elder is imperative if we wnat to promote wellness in this sector of the population and reduce the increasing costs of caring for seniors.

Mr. Freudenheim continues by saying: “…Many internists, family physicians and other primary care doctors are lobbying for payments for a team approach based in the physician’s office. The concept, which they call a patient-centered medical home, will be tried out under the new health care law by Medicare, Medicaid and some private insurers. Secretary Sebelius has called the medical home idea “one of our most promising models for improving the quality of care and bringing down health care costs…”

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The Importance of Medical Advocacy for Hospitalized Elders

June 27th, 2010 by Doris Bersing

There is evidence that even short episodes of hospitalization on elders can hinder recovery from patients’ initial conditions, extending hospitalizations, delaying scheduled procedures like surgery, requiring more time and attention from staff members and escalating health care costs. Afterward, patients are more often placed, whether temporarily or permanently, in nursing homes or rehabilitation centers.

Medical advocacy is a key component of Living Well’s approach to care that has been demonstrated to lead to improved quality of life and avoid further complications for seniors’ health. It is vital to avoid unnecessary visits to the ER and prolonged home stays.

Pam Belluck offers advice on how to prepare when an elderly patient is headed to surgery or a hospital stay in a recently post in The New York Times. She offers  Six Questions to Protect Elderly Patients.

Read the article.