Hospital Feed

Dear Carol: My mother has mid-stage dementia, as a mixture of Alzheimer’s and vascular. Dad is taking care of her, and overall it’s going okay as long as I go over to their apartment each day to help with baths, run errands, and accompany them to medical appointments. What’s troubling is that last week Mom fell against a cupboard corner and tore a gash in her shoulder. Read more →

Insurance of all types can be a minefield for America’s aging population. People over 50 are paying more for health insurance and could see enormous increases in those costs depending on what happens with the health insurance system in the U.S. Over the decades there has been an increasing push for people to take out long-term care insurance (LTCi), as well. Read more →

Dear Carol: My dad has Alzheimer’s. Recently, he had a bad fall and needed to be hospitalized. Dad was given Dilaudid for pain, but the drug affected his dementia so badly that I begged them to take him off of it. The hospitalist agreed, and they found something else for the pain, but he still hasn’t improved. It’s been two weeks and Dad's dementia is off the charts. The staff said that he may still improve, but that we must remember that Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease so he may simply be getting worse because of the disease. This change was so sudden that I can’t buy this thinking. Is there anything that I can do? – FT Read more →

Dear Carol: My 83-year-old mother has lived with my family for two years, but her Type 1 diabetes and lung problems have been worsening. She also has severe pain from arthritis. Mom was recently hospitalized with a respiratory infection and took a long time to respond to treatment. They finally got the bacteria under control but she’s very weak and her breathing needs monitoring. The doctor insisted that she should only be released to a nursing home. I asked if this was just a time for recovery but he was strong in recommending that she move there permanently. He said that she needs more nursing care than she can get at home. We have good nursing homes here, but I’m having a hard time coping with the change. Mom seems to realize that this is best, so I know that I’m the one who must adjust. Do people often go from the hospital to a nursing home as a permanent move? KM Read more →

Dear Carol: My mother, who was in her early 80s, was doing well, except for arthritis and high blood pressure. Then she fell and broke her hip. After surgery, she seemed not just foggy but completely irrational. The doctor said that this wasn’t unusual for someone her age considering what she’d been through and that she’d get better. Mom spent several days in the hospital and was then moved to a nursing home to recover and receive physical therapy. The staff was terrific with Mom. When I asked them if Mom would recover mentally, they were non-committal. They didn’t want to say that she wouldn’t but they seemed less sure than the doctor. As the weeks went by she didn’t improve mentally, though she was doing fairly well physically. Then, five weeks after the surgery, she suddenly died. It’s hard to accept. How common is this? – Terri Read more →

Many adults sit by the side of their dying loved ones, sometimes for days, working on accepting the loss of their physical presence and what this loss means in their lives. Then, a spouse, parent, child or friend suddenly rallies, becomes more stable and in some cases wants to talk. We grasp at what seems to be a turnaround and sigh with relief. They are going to hang on for a while; or are they? Read more →

As people age, surgery becomes a greater risk to their overall health than the same surgery would be for younger people. Older people often have less robust immune systems so they are more at risk for general infections and they are more at risk for pneumonia. However, one of the most frightening risks for older people is post-surgical delirium. Read more →

Hospice care is palliative care, but palliative care is not hospice. The difference between these two types of care is something that I have found difficult to clarify myself let alone explain to others. However, this care is a fundamental part of treating any chronic or terminal illness. Read more →

Flu isn't just an inconvenience, especially among the elderly population. For expert information on how caregivers can help their elders stay healthy and if possible avoid the flu, I reached out to Martie Moore, R.N., MAOM, CPHQ, who is Chief Nursing Officer, Medline Industries, Inc. for some answers. Read more →