Lost in the Hospital: An Article to Check Out

I’ve just finished reading a Washington Post opinion piece, We Need to Take Better Care of Our Elderly by Jerald Winakur. The March 20, 2015 article describes a hospital experience of a 91-year-old woman, who may be the author’s mother.

Winakur, a geriatrician, describes what happens to an elder who enters the hospital’s complex world of unfamiliar physicians, none of whom are the person’s primary care physician. He describes how wide-ranging medical tests, medical care recommendations, few explanations, and very little personalized care combine to create confusion for the patient and for family members. And, of course, there are the always-connected medical devices. 

When elderly family members enter the hospital, we can’t pay too much attention. The potential for things to go wrong with age-associated hospitalizations is always present. Back in 2009 I wrote Going to the Emergency Room/Hospital With an Elder Parent, and it seems that in the past six years, very little has changed. You might also want to read Paula Span’s May 2013 New York Times article, Trapped in a Hospital Bed.

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