How Can You Protect Your Senior from Hospital Delirium?

Home Care Sunrise FL

Home Care Sunrise FL

Hospital delirium, also sometimes referred to as hospital-induced delirium, impacts approximately 7 million people throughout the United States each year. Among those people who enter the intensive care unit, regardless of the reason, 30 percent will develop this condition. For those who do, there is a 30 percent greater chance that they will experience long-term and even permanent decline in cognitive functioning and double the risk of mortality. Though this condition can and does occur in people of all ages, older adults are at the highest risk.

This condition is a sudden and very noticeable change in cognitive functioning or mental status for a person who is in the hospital. Though there is the perception that only very old or already impaired people are the only ones who become delirious in the hospital, this is not the case. In fact, seniors who are in relatively good health and have not developed cognitive difficulties outside of the hospital can still develop delirium when undergoing treatment. This makes it absolutely essential that you pay close attention to your parent’s health, wellbeing, and condition while in the hospital so that you can detect if they are starting to develop delirium and get them the proper treatment and home care services quickly as possible.

The fortunate news is that approximately 40 percent of cases of delirium are completely preventable and others can be made far less impactful. Some ways that you can help protect your parent from hospital delirium include:

  • Stay with them. Be with your parent as much as possible while they are in the hospital. This will help keep their minds stimulated and reduce anxiety, depression, and isolation that increase the chances of this condition developing. Create a care network of friends and family who can spend time in the hospital so that your parent is alone as little as possible
  • Monitor their basic needs. Some of the greatest risk factors for developing hospital delirium are actually some of the most basic of needs. Lack of sleep, dehydration, and malnutrition can make your parent far more vulnerable to this condition. Unfortunately these can be overlooked by medical staff who often rely on a patient asking for things rather than offering them. Monitor your parent and make sure that they drink enough, eat enough, and get enough sleep. Ask that the medical staff not enter their room at night if at all possible, and make sure that there is as little light in the room at night as you can to help them get enough sleep
  • Keep them active. Your parent may not be able to get up and walk around during their time in the hospital, but there are other ways that you can get them active. Encourage them to sit up in bed rather than lying flat all the time. Play games with them that stimulate their mind and encourage cognitive processing and memory skills. Encourage them to move in ways that they can, such as tossing a ball back and forth with you or even waving their arms and dancing to music that you play quietly on your phone or other device.

A home care provider can be a valuable asset if your parent has recently spent time in the hospital. Having this type of home care provider available when your parent transitions into care back at home and throughout at least the first few weeks of being at home dramatically reduces the chances that your parent will be readmitted to the hospital. This gives them fewer opportunities to develop delirium, protecting them from the potentially catastrophic impact on this condition.

If you or an aging loved one are considering in-home Home Care Services in Sunrise FL to provide companionship, compassion and motivation, please contact the caring staff at Responsive Home Health. Call today 954-486-6440.