Beat the healthcare funnel and return homeTrueCareAdmin
National well being statistics show that the elderly who return home after a spell in a hospital fare better over the long term than in-patients who transfer to a nursing home.
Despite the numbers, there’s an untold story that’s all too common: dismayed children of elderly parents complain that their mothers or fathers went into the hospital but never returned to their prior living arrangements. Now, they’re institutionalized in a nursing home, which wasn’t really the plan. This narrow funnel is good news for nursing homes, unfortunately, the statistics show that it’s bad news for the individuals and their families.
With healthcare costs at these institutions skyrocketing, families may wish to give home care a second thought. Caring for seniors in their own homes is more cost effective, promotes faster healing, decreases the risk of a facility acquired infection, and allows individuals to retain their independence and control over their lives.
There is a lack of awareness among the general public about home care as an option, which makes a nursing home seem like the only choice. This is simply untrue.
When an elderly parents are being discharged from a hospital, their children should ask the following three questions to evaluate whether a nursing home is indeed the right choice.
- Is the elderly parent safe at home?
- Has the parent experienced a significant decline in their abilities from admission to the hospital to discharge?
- What kind of care will a facility provide the parent that would not be able to be achieved at home?
If their answers are “yes,” “no” and “nothing,” home care could be a better option.
Now, let’s compare the following two examples:
A 94-year-old woman developed an infection in her blood stream that lead to an extended hospitalization. Prior, she was living in an assisted living facility but able to walk 150 feet with a walker and to care for her own personal needs. However, at the time of her discharge from the hospital she was transferred to a rehab facility because she now required antibiotics for the infection, oxygen at all times, assistance from someone to get in and out of a chair and was unable to care for her own needs.
An 86-year-old man with Alzheimer’s, who was otherwise healthy, fell at home and suffered no injury. Despite, out of precaution, he was kept overnight for observation and then also transferred to a rehab facility. Yet, upon discharge he didn’t experience any functional decline. He was transferred from the hospital to the rehab facility despite having the same functional status as when he was admitted.
Both of the patients in the above examples were given the same discharge plan from a hospital, yet, clearly, their situations were quite different.
In the second example the individual could have easily been discharged to his home with home care professionals providing the rehab therapy. With Alzheimer’s patients, the fewer the disruptions there are to their daily routines, the longer they will maintain their current cognitive abilities.
The woman in Example 1 greatly benefited from the nursing at the rehab facility as they had both physical and medical needs that required constant monitoring.
We are all consumers of healthcare and we should be educated about our choices and options. Senior True Care professionals can help you to evaluate all the options to maintain senior’s life quality. Do not hesitate to contact us.