When we think of hospitals, we often think of a clean, orderly environment that promotes healing. However, hospitals are also noisy, bright, and busy, which can be disorienting to patients. Senior patients in particular may have difficulties sleeping or fully recovering in a hospital setting, and may even experience a little-known side effect of hospitalization: hospital delirium.
Hospital delirium can affect anyone, but is notably common among those over 65. Delirium manifests as sudden disorientation and confusion featuring hallucinations, delusions, and an inability to concentrate. Patients in the intensive care unit who are being treated with heavy sedatives are the most likely to experience delirium, but the condition can occur in anyone, even someone who is in the hospital for a routine procedure. Unfortunately, hospital delirium often results in longer hospital stays, which oftentimes exacerbates the delirium.
Hospital delirium is still not well understood by medical professionals, and many nurses and doctors are not equipped to deal with delirium in a comprehensive manner. Because of this, many seniors suffering from hospital delirium are left with no choice but to wait it out and hope their condition does not worsen. Some hospitals are taking steps to prevent delirium, such as limiting heavy sedatives, forgoing the use of bed restraints, turning off lights at night to preserve patient’s sleep rhythms, and installing large clocks in patient’s rooms to mark the passage of time, but these methods are not always effective. Research has linked hospital delirium to an increased likelihood of falls, an increased likelihood of dementia, and an accelerated death rate. In addition, those who experience delirium sometimes have trouble with memory and cognition months, or even years after their hospitalization.
However, there are ways to prevent or curtail hospital delirium. The best way is by limiting the amount of time a senior spends in a hospital environment as much as possible. When seniors opt to recover at home instead of in an unfamiliar, confusing medical environment, the likelihood that he or she will experience delirium decreases significantly.
Nightingale Homecare prevents unnecessary hospitalization of seniors by providing safe, reliable care in the home. In addition to non-medical home care, Nightingale Homecare provides outstanding nursing care at home ensuring that all your loved one’s needs will be met. Our highly-trained nurses and caregivers can identify medical issues before they progress to a degree that would require hospitalization, make home modifications to prevent falls, and administer medical care in the home. Home is the most comfortable and safest place for a senior to recuperate or receive treatment, and the compassionate caregivers at Nightingale Homecare are ready to lend a helping hand.
To learn more about how home care can keep a loved one out of the hospital and in the place he or she feels most comfortable, reach out to us online or give us a call at (602) 504-1555. We’re happy to tell you more about our award-winning caregiver agency in Glendale, AZ and the surrounding communities and to arrange a free-in home consultation at any time.