Caregivers in New Canaan CT
As a caregiver you are likely already familiar with some of the risks associated with your elderly parent going to the hospital. You know that they could face increased risk of infection, further illnesses, and falls, and that if they return to the hospital within 30 days of discharge they could be at even greater risk of these and other serious complications.
One issue you may not think of immediately, however, is hospital delirium. Sometimes referred to as hospital-induced delirium or ICU delirium, this condition is a marked change in cognitive functioning, behavior, or emotional state while in the care of a hospital. It can occur very suddenly, sometimes in a matter of hours, and can increase the risk of death dramatically.
The statistics regarding this condition are quite staggering. Each year throughout the United States 20 percent of the total population of elderly adults who enter the hospital for care and treatment develop hospital delirium. This is nearly 4 million elderly adults. This accounts for approximately 85 percent of those elderly adults who end up in the intensive care unit due to their condition, and more than 50 percent of those who are undergoing postoperative care. This does not mean, however, that your parent suffering from this serious condition is inevitable. There are ways that you can help reduce the chances that they will suffer this condition and its potentially devastating consequences.
Some ways that you can help prevent hospital delirium include:
- Be with them. Isolation contributes dramatically to the chances of your parent developing hospital delirium. Stay with your parent as much as possible when they are undergoing care and treatment. If you are not able to be with them at a certain time, try to arrange for a friend or family member to take your place.
- Be aware of what to expect. Some people have very strong reactions to anesthesia and may mumble, say strange things, or even lash out after waking up. Talk to the doctor about what to expect after your parent comes out of treatment and how long this reaction should last. This will help you to determine if they are just reacting strangely or if there may be something more serious at play.
- Keep their routine. If your parent already has a care routine in place at home, do as much as you can to keep that routine in place while they are in the hospital. Ask that the medical team leaves your parent alone to sleep at night as much as possible, and that they bring in as much light as they can during the day. This structure will help to keep your parent's mind focused and sharp.
- Take note of changes. As their caregiver you are your parent's advocate and it is up to you to speak up for them when they are in a potentially fragile situation. Do not worry about seeming "clingy" or "annoying" when it comes to your loved one. If you notice changes in their behavior, functioning, personality, or state, bring it to the attention of the medical team promptly and be willing to seek out supervisors should the initial team disregard you. The earlier that these signs are noticed, the faster your parent can get treatment and get through the potentially dangerous situation.
If you or an aging loved one are considering caregivers in New Canaan, CT or the surrounding areas, please contact SYNERGY HomeCare of Stamford, CT at 203-661-6969.