Keeping an elder out of the hospital while dealing with their multiple pathologies and can be challenging. Elders are frequently admitted to the hospital for the following preventable reason: falls, undiagnosed infection, dehydration, and non-compliance with medicine.
Once an elder is hospitalized, a rapid decline in health can occur. The old adage, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is so true in the too-often occurring syndrome of frequent hospitalization and rehabilitation stays for an elder. With careful monitoring of fluid and food intake, daily exercise and a closely supervised medication regime, hospitalizations can be prevented.
These interventions can be implemented daily or every other day, depending on the elder’s need, by family members, professional staff, or a combination of both. Adult children of an elder might say “My Mom or Dad won’t accept help.” This is a natural response for a frail elder faced with losing some independence. We would advise bringing in an objective third party (professional care manager) to assist in these discussions and the implementation of care to achieve the desired outcome which, for most elders, is to stay at home and out of the hospital for their remaining days.
Amy Cameron O’Rourke, MPH, CMC
The Cameron Group
Orlando, Florida 32803