Aunt Louise and Her Hospital to Home Experience

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posted by Ryan Whittington on April 14, 2011

It never ceases to prove out the frailty of some elders!! Start listening to your parents, co-workers, neighbors, or friends any time they relay a story regarding an elder that is hospitalized.

Last month, my 84yr old, Aunt Louise (in her 5th year of dementia) became very ill. Her daughter, a nurse, took her to run errands that morning and to lunch and all seemed normal. By 5pm, Aunt Louise had a 104 temperature and was barely arousable. My cousin could not even get her to stand to get to the car. She had to call 911 for emergency transport to the hospital.

Well, Aunt Louise was admitted to the hospital with a Urinary Tract Infection---Now imagine this --millions of women get similar infections and don't wind up in the ER. So, what happened to Aunt Louise???

When we age and become frail our immune system does not respond to infections as when we were younger and stronger-- The frail elderly may become very sick, very quickly as Aunt Louise did.

Aunt Louise became very confused in the hospital from the infection and antibiotics, enough that we could not leave her alone. Left to herself she would have tried to get up out of bed to go to the bathroom or get something to eat, etc. as she has done for 84 years.

She was not able to comprehend what was happening or where she was. So to prevent a fall, a fracture, sedation or restraints we chose to remain with her around the clock.

On day two, Aunt Louise was slightly better, however so weak she could not even stand. We knew if we did not get her up and moving that they would be discharging her and she would not be able to care for herself.

This is what happens every day in hospitals. If you do not play a very active role in the care of the frail elderly-- upon discharge they may be sent directly to Nursing Homes.

So, we took charge and helped Aunt Louise become active. We worked her legs, actually lifting them up, doing knee bends for her, making her move her feet. We did this for twenty minutes every two hours during the day. By evening, she was able to stand with help. We stood her for a few seconds, eventually getting to a few minutes.

On day three we asked the nurse for a walker and we walked and walked.

On day four, Aunt Louise was discharged home. Had the family not taken an active role, Aunt Louise would have been sent to a nursing facility for several weeks -just because she was never exercised.

You have options and home care can be one.  There are many home care services that you are not aware exist.  More and more of our elderly are being needlessly re-admitted to hospitals.  I truly believe that adding home care overseen by a quality nurse, has a dramatic increase in quality of life.

So, how can I help you care for your frail elderly family member?? CLICK HERE

Dedicated to Eldercare

Nurse Alice
Seniors Home Care

Alice Endy is a Registered Nurse with certification in Gerontology. Alice has spent her entire nursing career in the care of the elderly. Being a sought after speaker and consultant she spends most of her free time researching trends and changes in eldercare.

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