Many seniors visit the hospital to treat chronic medical problems. Although a brief hospital stay is not a huge deal for many people, seniors often have a more difficult time. Senior care in a hospital poses more risks that are typically not apparent in younger patients. In addition, they are more likely to suffer injuries from slips, falls, and medical negligence. Contact a Louisville nursing home abuse attorney for more information.
Major Risk: Delirium
Hospital staff is becoming more aware of elderly patients suddenly becoming delirious while hospitalized. The patients, typically age 65 and older, experience a mental disturbance during their hospital stay. It often involves various states of confusion, and is almost like living a nightmare. For some, it may bring about sheer terror. Although the delirium often resolves itself eventually, it may linger for a while and decrease one’s mental capacities.
Delirium can be caused by many factors, including:
- being in an unfamiliar environment;
- being around strangers;
- lack of proper rest because of persistent noises or the medical staff checking vital signs;
- having medical devices and IVs attached to the body; and
- the mind reacting to the medical illness.
Many hospitals experience one case of delirium almost every day, and many experts believe that delirium affects one-third of elderly patients. This number can exceed 70% when older patients are in intensive care units.
Although delirium is a very common risk, it is not the only one. In overcrowded hospitals, medical staff simply cannot handle the pressure. Because of this, many elderly patients suffer from neglect due to the lack of senior care provided. Although many hospitals do their best, mistakes and negligence may occur.
Many patients suffer from bedsores from not being able to move in the bed. What’s more, many doctors may not be familiar with the patients’ limitations and may not know the patient needs turning over. In addition, if a doctor is unfamiliar with a patient’s medical history, he or she may not know to coordinate the care with multiple specialists. The doctor may also prescribe medications that interact negatively with the patient’s other medications, causing serious side effects.
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