Another benefit of home care services has arisen.
A recent study, performed by Harvard researchers, has brought into view negative effects for Alzheimer’s patients when they are hospitalized. Hospitalization was shown to increase an Alzheimer’s patient’s chances of being placed in a nursing home or dying within a year. In the study, 771 Alzheimer’s patients were looked at. About half ended up in the hospital for things like falls and chest pain.
Each year, about 4% of patients who were not hospitalized enter a nursing home, but that number increases drastically to 29% for those who are hospitalized at some point. The percentage of those who die within the year was 2% for the non-hospitalized group and 9% for the hospitalized group. The exact reason for the correlation behind hospitalization and these effects is unknown, but one might conclude that it may be related to the confusion and anxiety caused by being in an unfamiliar place with doctors and nurses examining you constantly with tools and machines. That can be stressful for anyone, but add in the factor that you can’t remember where you are or why and it can be even scarier. For a person with damaged brain function this could increase the rate of deterioration.
Researchers and experts agree that home care can help patients with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia avoid the hospital many times. Often people with dementia land in the hospital for illness or infections that are preventable, but were not caught early enough. The most common conditions they are hospitalized for, according to the University of Washington, are pneumonia, urinary tract infection, dehydration or worsening heart failure.
This is where home care services can prove to be a huge benefit. To the average person caring for a loved one, these conditions can go unrecognized if they do not know the symptoms. A Rhode Island home care expert from MAS Home Care, which also specializes in dementia and Alzheimer’s care, could more easily recognize the conditions early on. They would also be able to determine which issues just need a watchful eye and which need the attention of a doctor. Home care caregivers can be an excellent resource and support system.
Family members caring for a patient who has Alzheimer’s can also take steps to prevent hospitalizations by making their home a safe environment. Move things out of the way and off the floor to avoid falls, and lock up chemicals to prevent ingestion. Keep your home clean and disinfect surfaces to limit viruses and bacteria that are more easily contracted by seniors and those with a weakened immune system.
Need more ideas on how to keep your loved one safe? Interested in having a caregiver come to your home? Contact MAS Home Care today.
MAS Home Care provides services in Maine, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.