While you may think that dropping an older adult to a hospital into the care of “professionals” is enough for their wellbeing, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Believe it or not, admitting your aging loved ones in the hospital puts them at a much greater risk. Contrary to a popular belief, from medical errors, accidental falls, medication faults, to infectious ailments, your elderly parents are never truly safe at the hospital.
However, that is not to say that the hospital staff is complacent or not doing their job well. Even though they want to give the best care to all patients, their jobs are very demanding that puts them under immense pressure. Some people are able to overcome the patient load, while there are others that may end up making a mistake that can cost someone their life. If that wasn’t enough, many hospitals are already reeling under the burden of monetary duress, taking away their capability to accommodate more and more patients at a time.
Having said that, despite its risks, if your old-age parents need medical attention then they should get it. However, you, as a family member or a friend, should stay on top of their treatment to ensure that everything is in order. For starters, keep yourself acquainted with potential risks so that you can prevent them from happening.
Here are some of the most common risks or concerns that elderly face during hospitalization.
Hospitalization Risks for Older Adults
1. Bed Sores: Since the older adult may not be able to change their position themselves, they are a much higher risk of contracting pressure ulcers, also known as bed sores. This is one of the most common risks faced by seniors.
2. Medication Errors: One of the most serious and commonplace threat to seniors during hospitalization is that of medication errors. Misreading the name of the medicine can lead to wrong medication or dose that can be life threatening. As more and more people get involved in caring for the patient, the possibility of making an error becomes higher. It is important to have no more than one or two people involved in giving medication to the patient to avoid such risks.
3. Risk of Infection: MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is a staph infection that has now become antibiotic-resistant. The best way to avoid contracting the virus is to ensure cleanliness at all times. As a family member, you should ensure that the senior patient is not touched by anyone who hasn’t washed their hands properly. The same rule applies to medical professionals also.
4. Risk of Falls: Older adults are often disoriented due to sedation. Allowing them to move around on their own can result in a fall that can lead to injury or even death.
5. Malnutrition: Most senior patients have trouble eating in the hospitals that can affect their recovery and their overall health too. It is important to feed the patients with proper meals to keep their nutrition in top condition that aids in quick recovery.
Apart from these concerns, there is always the risk of failed care that can further aggravate the health of your loved ones. To prevent this, it is advisable to be personally responsible for your elderly family members or friends during their hospitalization.