As the family caregiver, you don’t want to think about your aging parent having to spend time in the hospital. Visits to the hospital, whether they are in the emergency room, for surgery or another type of treatment, or for a long-term hospitalization, can be frightening and uncomfortable for your senior, and for you. There is another risk that comes along with visits to the hospital as well, and it is important for you to understand this risk so you can help to protect your aging parent.
Seniors who spend time in the hospital are at risk for developing illness and infection, including hospital-acquired pneumonia.
Pneumonia is a very serious risk for older adults, and is the most common form of infection or illness acquired while in the hospital after urinary tract infections. It is also the most common cause of hospital-acquired infection related death, and the leading cause of death in intensive care units. Developing this infection can put your parent in danger of suffering very serious complications, worsening of their current symptoms and illness, and other problems.
In order to be considered hospital-acquired pneumonia, the infection must develop within 72 hours of hospitalization. Your senior must not have had the infection at the time of admission to the hospital. Most of the time, this type of infection is bacterial, as opposed to being caused by a virus. Elderly adults can develop hospital-acquired pneumonia quickly, and worsen rapidly. On average, acquiring pneumonia while in the hospital lengthens a senior’s stay by one to two weeks. This not only leads to the discomforts and mental and emotional consequences of hospitalization, but can put them at further health risk, including the potential for delirium and falls.
If your aging parent requires hospitalization, it is important to pay close attention to their condition throughout the entire time they are in the facility. This allows you to notice changes in their symptoms and functioning to detect when they may have developed pneumonia. If you notice your parent is coughing, struggling to breathe, has a fever, or has otherwise developed further symptoms than they had when admitted, do not hesitate to bring them to the attention of their medical team. Early detection is key to effective treatment and management.
Hospital readmission is a serious issue for senior adults. It can put your aging parent at increased risk for a variety of health issues, including pneumonia. Having elder care available for your aging parent can help reduce the chances your parent will be readmitted to the hospital soon after discharge. This can help to protect them from these infections and illnesses. Emotional support, medication reminders, and assistance with care tasks can all help your parent stay at home rather than heading back to the hospital. This can help them stay safer and healthier, and give you peace of mind as their family caregiver. Elder care can be a valuable part of the recovery process for any illness or injury, helping your parent heal, and move forward in a healthier way.
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring elder care in Westfield, NJ, call the caring staff at Helping Hands Home Care today at 908-418-4299. Providing Home Care Services in all of Northern and Central NJ, including Clark, Westfield, Cranford, Scotch Plains, Rahway, Linden, Summit, Edison, Elizabeth, Mountainside and the surrounding areas.
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