Hospital Delirium: The Little Known Danger for Seniors

Hospital DeliriumAs difficult as a hospital stay may be, we’re at least somewhat comforted by the fact that we’re in the right place where we’re going to get the help we need to be healed or to get well. Or are we? For seniors in particular, a surprising effect of hospital stays is becoming more and more prevalent: hospital delirium.

Termed “ICU psychosis” by geriatrician Sharon Inouye of Harvard Medical School, hospital delirium is both “underrecognized and underdiagnosed.” And perhaps even more disturbing, as much as 40% of the time, this condition is preventable in the elderly – caused simply by the bright, noisy environment that inhibits sleep, or a particular type of treatment they’re receiving, such as narcotics or anti-anxiety medications.

Researchers are finding that the longer the hospital stay, the stronger likelihood for patients to develop hospital delirium. And the effects can be both long-lasting and severe. A full 80% of adult ICU patients showed markedly lower cognitive test results than normal (based on age and education predictions), even though only 6% had any cognitive impairment prior to their hospitalization. And a full two-thirds of the patients displayed an impairment that mimicked what would be expected in someone with mild Alzheimer’s disease or even a traumatic brain injury.

Since it’s not likely we can simply avoid hospitalizations for older adults, how can we best address this growing concern? One program that’s taking aim at preventing hospital delirium is HELP, Inouye’s Hospital Elder Life Program, offered in 200 hospitals throughout the U.S. Trained volunteers visit senior patients to offer assistance and to help keep them oriented.

Inouye has also developed the CAM scale (Confusion Assessment Method) to help maintain awareness of potential delirium, and strives to promote alternate methods to reduce anxiety – such as the comfort of a companion over strong anti-anxiety drugs.

Valley of the Sun Homecare, Scottsdale’s leading in-home care agency for seniors, is also available to help in a variety of ways. By caring for older adults at home, we can:

  • Make sure medications are taken exactly as prescribed
  • Keep seniors safer from falls and other injuries
  • Pick up groceries and provide healthy meals
  • And more

Our professional home care assistance helps prevent hospitalizations – and, hospital delirium. When hospitalizations are necessary, however, we’re on hand to help seniors get settled back in at home afterwards and monitor their condition, reducing the possibility of unnecessary re-hospitalizations. Give us a call any time at 480-264-5252 to learn more.

Elderly Care: The Holidays Are Over. What’s Next for Your Senior Loved One?

Elderly CareSpending time with loved ones over the holidays is priceless, in more ways than one. Not only does it provide the opportunity to create treasured memories that will last a lifetime, but it also gives family members the opportunity to check in on one another to ensure health and wellbeing. This is particularly true for elderly loved ones living independently; and it’s often during holiday visits that family members discover concerns that may raise questions about the need for elderly care assistance.


Helping Seniors Safely Deck the Halls This Holiday Season

helping seniorsWhat’s more fun than holiday decorating? At Valley of the Sun Homecare, we’d say helping seniors with holiday decorating! The nostalgia experienced in carefully unpacking each precious ornament, and the memories evoked with lovingly placing each piece are priceless. (more…)

Giving the Gift of Care: How Elderly Care Can Help Seniors Enjoy the Holidays

elderly careFruitcake? A pair of socks? Another knick-knack for the already overloaded mantel? Trying to think of the perfect holiday gift for a senior loved one seems to get more challenging as each year goes by. What would be the best way to show your deep love and appreciation for someone who’s given so much of herself throughout her lifetime? (more…)

Breathe Easier with These COPD Tips | Scottsdale Home Healthcare

Scottsdale Home HealthcareTaking a deep, cleansing breath can relieve stress, help us relax, reduce pain, and even create a better acid/alkaline balance in our bodies. But for those with COPD, the thought of breathing deeply can have the exact opposite effect: inducing feelings of anxiety about the coughing and wheezing to follow. (more…)

Scottsdale Home Care Tips for Staying Active with Alzheimer’s

Scottsdale home careIn just the time it took you to walk out to your car this morning, another person was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s – joining the more than 5 million others struggling with the disease. Since November is recognized as National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, we at Valley of the Sun Homecare want to help seniors with Alzheimer’s, and those who care for them, to experience the highest possible quality of life. Remaining physically and mentally active is of paramount importance, and these tips can help: (more…)

Age-Related Fears that Home Care Helps Seniors Avoid

home careIt’s the time of year when fears – all in good fun – are everywhere we turn. Stores are brimming with ghosts, ghouls and goblins; from costumes for kids and pets to spooky home décor. Normally friendly neighborhoods are suddenly draped in cobwebs, pumpkins carved into grimaced faces, and witch brooms parked beside front doors. (more…)

Planning Ahead for Long-Term Care Following a Parkinson’s Disease Diagnosis

Parkinsons DiseaseA diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease is the first step in a long journey in which the scenery can change from one day to the next. Navigating each step is much easier with a caring support system – both for the Parkinson’s patient and for the family providing his care. And what better source for support than those who are walking that same path? (more…)

Alzheimer’s Caregivers Talk the Talk: Top Tips for Communicating with a Loved One with Alzheimer’s

Alzheimers CaregiversConnecting with others is one of the most basic human necessities: sharing the ups and downs of life, discovering commonalities, and growing closer to those we care about. In fact, it’s so crucial to our wellbeing that isolation from relationships can result in the same negative health effects as smoking, obesity and high blood pressure. (more…)

Valley of the Sun Homecare’s Caregiver Training Improves Senior Care Services and Health

senior care servicesWhen a senior loved one needs assistance at home, families have a variety of options from which to choose. Some look to neighbors and friends for volunteer help or for recommendations on caregivers they’ve hired in the past. Others scan the classified section of the newspaper to find someone offering a low hourly rate in order to cut costs. (more…)