Hospital delirium is one of the most common types of complications seniors face when they have health issues that require hospitalization for any length of time. This condition is marked by symptoms that include confusion, agitation, and hallucinations. Your senior loved one might also experience varying levels of consciousness. He or she might be wide awake and alert one day and nearly incoherent the next. Your loved one’s symptoms may continue after he or she goes home, which means you and your loved one’s other caregivers may become responsible for preventing lasting consequences resulting from hospital delirium.
Look for Potential Causes of Hospital Delirium
There are multiple factors that can contribute to seniors experiencing delirium. While your loved one’s symptoms might simply be a reaction to an infection or brain trauma, there could be other things going on. For example, seniors might show signs of delirium if they’re off their normal medications or reacting badly to new ones. Appointing someone to be a health advocate during your loved one’s stay ensures he or she isn’t experiencing treatable issues that could impact his or her physical and mental health.
Prevent New Injuries
Seniors who become confused or disoriented are at higher risk for experiencing injuries. For example, your loved one might attempt to get out of bed and leave the hospital if he or she fears it’s an unsafe place. Your loved one might also do the same thing after returning home. Making sure someone stays near your loved one to provide reassurance can stop him or her from making dangerous decisions when he or she is unable to think clearly.
Consider hiring a professional caregiver to assist your loved one after he or she leaves the hospital. If you’re the primary caregiver for a senior family member and you need respite care, Clearwater, Florida, Home Care Assistance is here to help. Our respite caregivers are trained to assist older adults with a wide variety of everyday tasks, including meal prep, physical activity, and personal hygiene. We also provide 24-hour care and specialized care for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s.
Watch Out for Signs of Emotional Trauma
Your loved one might experience delusions he or she perceives to be true, and some of these may have some small basis in reality. For example, your loved one might believe a nurse abused him or her when the nurse was performing a routine procedure such as inserting an IV. While you might know your loved one was never intentionally harmed, his or her beliefs can influence his or her mental health. Encouraging your loved one to talk through his or her emotional reactions with a professional counselor can prevent mental health conditions such as depression or hospital-related anxiety.
Mental and emotional challenges can leave aging adults unable to manage everyday tasks, which puts their safety and health at risk. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of home care service families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
Encourage a Regular Routine
One theory about hospital delirium is that it can be caused by disruptions in seniors’ normal routines. Trying to help your loved one get back on track with his or her routine after returning home can reduce instances of confusion. When your loved one knows to take medication with a meal eaten at the same time each day, he or she will be less likely to miss a dose.
Take Action to Prevent Premature Death
Older adults who develop hospital delirium are more likely to die within a year of being hospitalized. This is due to issues such as injuries, medication mishaps, and emotional trauma. Creating a plan to help your loved one increases the chances he or she will survive well beyond the first year after a hospitalization. Take action in the hospital by helping your loved one stay alert and aware of what’s happening around him or her as much as possible. Then surround your loved one with support at home to keep him or her safe from confusing thoughts.
Caring for a loved one with hospital delirium is a challenging task for anyone. The responsibilities can sometimes feel overwhelming, but help is available. Seniors can face a variety of age-related challenges. Though some families choose to take on the caregiving duties, there may come a time when they need a trusted Clearwater home care provider. Families sometimes need respite from their duties so they can focus on their other responsibilities, and some seniors need around-the-clock assistance that their families are not able to provide. Home Care Assistance is here to help. Call one of our dedicated Care Managers today at (727) 330-7862 to learn about the high quality of our in-home care services.