For home health care businesses, there are five types of insurances necessary to know about due to the medical professional working in an unfamiliar environment. However, for some medical professionals, it isn’t an unfamiliar environment that creates a challenge. Rather, it’s the unfamiliar confusion experienced by elderly patients.
According to Tuscon.com, elderly persons admitted to the emergency room are not only more likely to stay for lengthy periods of time, but also have a higher mortality rate. However, this isn’t due to the patient’s age. It’s due to their confusion.
“People with confusion — or cognitive spectrum disorders [CSD] — make up over one-third of the population over 65 [in the U.K.] who are admitted as an emergency to the hospital, and half of patients over the age of 85 years,” said Professor Emma Reynish, chair of Dementia Studies at the University of Stirling.
Reynish led the research on a new study looking at over 10,000 emergency-admitted hospital patients over the age of 65 in the United Kingdom. The results of the study found that those patients suffering from confusion caused by dementia or delirium were more likely to stay in the hospital for 25 days on average in contrast to those without confusion who spent only 12 days in the hospital.
Additionally, the mortality rate for those with CSD was also found to be surprisingly high. About 26% of those without CSD died a year after their admission to the hospital whereas 40% of those with CSD died a year after their admission.
However, the root of the high mortality rate runs deeper than the surface level of the patients’ cognitive disorders. Elderly persons are found to be more likely to suffer in silence because of their fear of being a burden on their loved ones and the younger population.
As a result, aches and pains may go unnoticed until they have disastrous consequences. This is especially true for those suffering from CSD and other mental disorders who often feel like a burden to their loved ones even before they reach the age of 65.
“There are two main implications that need urgent attention,” said Reynish.
“The hospital care pathway should be re-examined and designed to centre around those with ‘confusion’ or cognitive spectrum disorders, rather than dementia or delirium alone. Secondly, there is a need for further research to determine direct causal relationships … as well as predictors of decline and optimal care pathways for this large, vulnerable and complex population.”
Elderly populations are often at risk for health problems not only because of cognitive difficulties, but also because of reduced mobility. Only one out of three adults receive the right amount of physical activity each week; a sedentary lifestyle can cause heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, etc. It can also increase depression and anxiety, which contain their own cognitive difficulties.
Therefore, not only must the hospital system change to accommodate patients with cognitive spectrum disorders, but elderly persons must also work to maintain a healthy lifestyle when they can.
“By learning from our mistakes,” said a spokesperson of the U.S. Department of Health, “we can improve care.”