Hospitals – When a health emergency or an accident occurs the hospital is the place we’re taken. Do you know the difference between being admitted for observation or admitted for treatment? If a serious injury occurs what’s required for insurance to pay for a rehabilitation stay? As we age, emergency room trips become more frequent due to common avoidable issues: dehydration, urinary tract infections, poorly managed diabetes or pneumonia. What happens when an older adult is taken to the emergency room and they’re unable to speak for themselves or give consent for treatment? Emergency rooms while beneficial can also be dangerous for individuals who are unable to advocate for their own care.
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Lately I’ve been on a quest to find out how individuals living well into their nineties and hundreds have achieved this great feat. As some of you know, I produced and hosted a weekly radio program called The Caring Generation® for two and one half years. Through this program I was able to interview some of the most interesting people in the world.
A geriatrician is a doctor for older adults, like a pediatrician is a doctor for children. People see geriatricians for two main reasons, the first is that they do not want to “get old”, and the second is because became “got old”. Geriatricians are physicians that specialize in the aging process. They complete training in internal or family medicine and then specialize in geriatrics for one to three years.
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Hospital owners are screaming. The Affordable Care Act implemented legislation under the title of “Re-hospitalization” that penalizes hospitals that re-admit patients within 30 days of discharge for a particular diagnosis. I realize that hospitals have the responsibility of care. However in my opinion equal responsibility rests with the patient to make sure actions do not result in a revolving door and a return to the hospital.
Due to the Affordable Care Act, hospital committees and related programs are widespread with staff diligently working to reduce re-hospitalization rates of older adults or face escalating financial penalties. Many studies are underway locally and nationally investigating a variety of methods to improve care. Potential issues have been identified as: drug interactions, lack of follow up with primary care physicians and lack of follow through on post care whether this be with home health, physical therapy, community based care, medical treatments or lab tests..