Hospitalized senior citizens may suffer from temporary memory loss and difficulty understanding hospital discharge instructions, according to a Northwestern Medicine survey.
One of the study’s conclusions was that seniors may suffer from a temporary cognitive lag for approximately one month after a hospital stay. The study noted that immediately following a hospitalization is a critical time in which seniors may need extra support from healthcare professionals and family, according to Lee Lindquist, M.D., the lead author of the study, as published online in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.
The study followed seniors not diagnosed with dementia or other cognitive problems. However, at the time of discharge, cognition tests showed that one-third of the participants had low cognition that was previously unrecognized. One month later, more than one-half of those patients no longer had low cognition. They had significant improvement in areas of orientation, registration, repetition, comprehension, naming, reading, writing, and calculation.
Although a senior patient is ready for discharge, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they are ready to resume their normal activities in their own home. The in-home support system of your senior is just as important after a hospital stay as during the hospitalization.
What can you do to assure that your senior loved one is prepared for at-home recuperation following a hospital stay?
- Check out lighting concerns. Poor bathroom and bedside lighting should be addressed in order to prevent mid-identification when taking night time medications.
- Evaluate trip and fall risks. Loose through rugs and other tripping hazards such as low-profile furniture should be removed in order to prevent a fall.
- Make certain that healthy foods are readily available. Foods on-hand may have spoiled during a lengthy hospital stay and your loved one may not be able to shop for themselves for the first several days at home. Make certain fresh, appropriate foods are on hand. You may want to consider enrolling your senior in a home-delivery meal program, at least temporarily.
- Follow medication instructions. New medications may have been provided during the hospital stay. Follow up and make certain that all medications are compatible, new prescriptions have been filled and any old prescriptions that are no longer valid should be removed from the medication reminder box.
- Consider at-home care. Returning home from a hospital stay can be disorienting and confusing. You may want to consider having additional help in the home for a few hours during the day or an overnight companion.
Do you have a helpful hint on caring for a senior parent at-home following a hospital stay? If so, please share with our reader forum.
We hope this was helpful. If you have any questions or if you know of a senior that could benefit from our vast array of home care services in Houston, please call us at 832 379-4700 or email us. We accept most long term care insurance as payment and have a full time staff supervising more than 100 quality-trained home care personnel covering the Houston, Texas area.