This article reminded me of a recent study that showed that hospitalizations have a significant impact on those over the age of 65. Many people may not realize that hospitalizations can lead to a decline in cognition for elders, whether they have a pre-existing cognitive decline or not. And the longer the hospitalization, the severity of the illness and greater age all contribute to a greater cognitive decline. The authors noted that the medical community needs to figure out how to minimze hospitalizations for the elderly, especially for minor illnesses/injuries.
A daily assessment of elders when residing in their homes, assisted living, or skilled nursing and immediate action taken to have them visit their primary care physician (PCP) when caregivers note anything out of the ordinary would go a long way to avoiding emergency room visits and hospitalizations. A minor cold, flu, or infection if caught early and treated early by the PCP would often times reduce hospitalization days later. Caregivers should note any change in cognition, temperature, or behavior and notifiy the family, fiduciary or physician, rather than waiting until the illness becomes a medical crisis. The link to the article is: