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Why Hospitals are No Place for the Elderly

imgresAfter developing a viral infection, an 88 year old man was admitted to a San Diego hospital for observation. Confused and disoriented because of the infection, the man told a nurse that he drank six martinis daily. Even though the man’s wife assured the nurse that this was not the case, she prescribed a drug meant to stabilize the effects of alcohol withdrawal. This made the man so drowsy, he was unable to get out of bed. After four days in the hospital, the formerly robust man was bed-bound, wearing a diaper, and unable to feed himself. The son-in-law claimed that the nurses were negligent, additional unnecessary medications were administered, and food and water was placed too far away for him to reach. Sadly, stories like this are far from rare.

Hospitals are often necessary and even life-saving, but they can be a dangerous place for vulnerable and frail elderly ones. ” Hospitals are hugely dangerous and inappropriately used,” says George Taler, a professor of geriatric medicine at Georgetown University. “They are a great place to be if you have no choice but to risk your life to get better.”

For acute treatments and surgeries, hospitals are precisely where certain patients need to be. But many hospitals are not attuned to meeting the needs of elderly persons, who can deteriorate rapidly if not cared for sufficiently. Fortunately, there are safer alternatives, such as home-based care. Home care systems like ClearCare Online have allowed countless seniors to live comfortably at home, even while recovering from an illness or disability.

Home Care Sytems vs. Hospitals

Studies show there are several factors contributing to poor care in our nation’s hospitals, including:

  • Rotating on-call doctors who are unfamiliar with each patient’s history
  • Insufficient nursing staff due to budget cuts
  • Uninvolved family members leaving elderly patients to fend for themselves

Because many hospitals are understaffed, the nurses who are on duty are often overwhelmed with charting and administrative duties. This results in substandard care, which can be deadly for the elderly.

In stark contrast, in-home caregivers focus on each individual patient. One elder care expert remarks, “(Home care) is not medical treatment, it’s helping meet personal goals. It’s about ‘Who is this person, and what do they want in their life?’” A personalized, comprehensive approach to care is much easier to maintain with reliable caregivers who use home care software such as ClearCare Online. Using such software facilitates good communication between the care team, physicians, and family members -which helps eliminate any ambiguity surrounding patient care.

If families are not around to visit their loved ones, caregivers can update them using Clear Care Online’s web-based home care software. This real-time visibility to patient point-of-care brings incredible peace of mind to families who cannot personally be there.

Research has proven that innovative technologies like home care systems and home care software have played a crucial role in helping keep seniors safe in their homes. Unlike crowded and understaffed hospitals, where patients receive little personal attention, home care creates an atmosphere of focused and individualized care. Caregivers use their home care software to create daily reminders so important tasks are never forgotten. Home care systems like ClearCare Online feature reliable scheduling so caregivers are always on time for every shift. Caregivers can also refer to their patient’s medical history and care plan using their home care software, and take note of any changes in health or conditions.

Hospital stays may sometimes be unavoidable – but not always. If a chronic illness or disability threatens to send your loved one for prolonged stay in the hospital, consider if home care might be a better option. With a reputable agency and home care systems like ClearCare Online, many seniors can avoid hospitals and stay safe at home.

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