Are Hospitals Worse for Seniors?
No one likes to go to the hospital. If you are healthy and young, there are a million reasons you do not want to be there.
But for the elderly, the hospital can be more than inconvenient or frustrating—it can be deadly.
What Are the Risks of Hospitalization for the Elderly?
Seniors tend to have greater risks of falling, breaking bones, and contracting illnesses because of a weakened immune system. As we age, we do become more brittle and delicate. Nevertheless, why would being in the hospital make things worse?
Because hospital stays can result in several unpleasant side effects, including:
- Secondary infection: sometimes these infections are more difficult to treat.
- Bed sores and muscular degeneration, because the patient is unable to move for extended periods.
- Impaired thinking, increases in dementia symptoms, and general confusion.
- Malnutrition, thus weakening an already hurting patient.
- Pain or medication mismanagement, resulting in increased discomfort, psychological stress, and physical pain.
What Can Be Done for Hospitalized Seniors?
Given the cutbacks in many hospitals of skilled nurses and caregivers, the reality is that many senior patients are not and will not be receiving the level of care they truly deserve.
In addition, the prevailing norms in many hospitals—crowded rooms, round-the-clock interruptions, inconsistent mealtimes, and restricted movement—work against the needs of the elderly population. For some, however, there are alternatives.
Specialized wards for elderly patients are growing in hospitals across the country. These are known as Acute Care for Elders (ACE) departments. Instead of leaving seniors to struggle for themselves, ACE environments are designed to be supportive and temporary to help get seniors back home.
If your elderly family member was injured during a hospitalization, please contact Siegel Law at (562) 645-4145 to find out about your senior’s legal rights.