Missing the Forest for the Trees
Hospitalization of Seniors for Acute Care Generates a Host of New Health issues
While physicians focus on treating their hospitalized patients’ ills, discharging them once those acute problems are resolved – they tend to be oblivious to the fact that most seniors leave the hospital with their overall physical capabilities diminished. Whether it’s a loss of strength and muscle mass or a weakening of cognitive skills – their state of independence and level of functioning is negatively affected, some times to the point where they can no longer care for themselves and must move to a skilled nursing facility
To combat this problem and reduce cases of hospitalization-associated disability, The Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that hospitals provide a dedicated focus on “function, including assessment on admission, and throughout the hospital stay, promoting physical activity, avoiding hospital processes and complications that impair functional recovery”. That means encouraging a patient to get out of bed and walk around, providing social activities and stimulation, and doing whatever it takes to cut down on the depersonalization that is so common to the sterile hospital setting.