The Increasing Need for Healthy Post-Hospital Care for Seniors
Despite all of the advances in medicine, medical technology and in the control of bacteria/viruses, hospitalization is a risky – yet often unavoidable – experience, especially for the elderly. According to recent data from millions of Medicare beneficiaries in the U.S., nearly 20% of seniors are re-hospitalized within just 30 days of being release form the hospital.
To complicate the issue, these ‘repeat’ hospital visitors typically return with health issues that differ – often dramatically – from those that got them into the hospital in the first place. A person suffering from a stroke may be re-admitted the following month with an acute infection, something totally unrelated to the treatment they underwent for their stroke issues.
And according to many industry authorities, it is quite understandable because doctors – particularly those in emergency wards – deal with the short-term, highly specific problems that cause the visit to the hospital… and rarely about what happens after. Which makes perfect sense. Doctors are charged with the responsibility of treating a specific ailment and then discharging the patient as soon as possible… hopefully, in distinctly better shape than when they came in. But there is mounting evidence that indicates that what happens after a person’s discharge papers have been signed may be just as – or even more – important as the care they received while in the hospital.
It even has a name. This theory is referred to as the ‘post-hospital syndrome’, which is defined as a period of higher frailty and increased risk for illness and re-hospitalization that is experienced by recently discharged people – especially seniors.
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