MANY THOUGHTS: HOSPITALS AND THE ELDERLY

I have not blogged for a spell…..I have had my mind elsewhere since being at a large hospital system in Fargo many times since June 14th.  It has been a difficult time for me and for others in my family.  When your elderly, beloved Aunt has taken a bad fall resulting in hospitalization, it has put a crimp in daily life and routine… and made me consider many other serious things about living this life we live.   It has been very difficult to see my Aunt so helpless, so weak, so bewildered by what has happened to her that has changed her life so much in such a short time.

One thing I have thought a lot about these past days is about the importance and the high quality of nurses, nurse’s assistants and physical therapists.  These people are on the front lines of care in a hospital setting, every day, 24 hours a day.  They are the absolute front line of care for patients like my Auntie.  They truly care for the patients—not just in changing their dressings or giving medications or taking "vitals" on a regular basis.  They CARE….they take it personally when a patient is in discomfort or distress and do all that is possible to alleviate any misery.  I am so favorably impressed by the wonderful caring nursing staff and other support staff at the hospital where my Aunt is spending her days.

It has been difficult for my sister and me to see our cousin doing what she does for her mom….so lovingly, so unselfishly, so positively,often for a dozen or more hours each day… in spite of many bumps along the way of recovery.  When one is elderly…..in their late eighties….recovery is a much different route than when one is still in their middle years or is younger than that.  Healing takes place so much more quickly when you are younger.      Healing and recovering for an elderly person is a real struggle.  The goal is to get our Aunt back to a rehab unit at the Eventide care center where she has lived this past year as an Assisted Living resident.  During the past few days that goal looked really far away but suddenly today, it is going to happen!   Our amazingly strong and plucky little Aunt is going back to Eventide tomorrow after making some really big strides today.  I am so thankful and so amazed at her strength of will even when there has been little physical strength for some days now.

A few other thoughts about hospital care in the present day:   not having observed the many changes in hospital care, I was truly amazed to discover a way doctors now function.  There are teams of student doctors who consult on  cases and they seem to be totally hospital doctors with no connection to a clinicical practice.  Perhaps this is in the name of efficiency for other physicians who are also clinicians, but I have seen some dangerous gaps in patient care due to this system.  It has seemed that at times there is little coordination between the teams of doctors who visit the hospital patients …..each team gets some new ideas about what should be done and another team thinks differently and wants to try something entirely different.  This has seemed to happen on more than one occasion while I have been visiting my Aunt in her situation.  I have even felt like she was sort of a "guinea pig patient" for these teams of doctors-in -training.  I hope my perception is incorrect because if it is not, I think the quality of the doctor-care is a lot lower than that of the nursing staff and physical therapists, et al.  It seems like there is much more consistency among the nursing staff care…yet they are subject to changes in doctor’s orders and cannot function without that direction. It has dismayed me on more than one occasion.

Today however, I am much encouraged by the amazing turn-around in my Aunt’s condition and am more than overjoyed that she is going to get to return to the rehab unit at the nursing care center in just a few more hours.  It has been a longer than expected journey and one that has amazed us in many different ways.

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2 Comments »

 
  • PrairieWoman says:

    Glad to hear good news about your Aunt.

    The amount of caring that goes into the CNA, LPN and so on fields is amazing. I agree with your opinion on that.

  • Far Side of Fifty says:

    Oh B Gal, I am so glad she is going to get out of the hospital and go back to more familiar surroundings. She will perk up in no time, such trauma, the fall, and then changes in location where everything is different is so hard on the elderly. So many Doctors..how do they keep track..one should be in charge of her care even if she is part of a teaching rotation. I am all for education..but the patient has got to come first! :)

 

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