In our small Assisted Living home, we have noticed some decline in our residents after a hospitalization. I saw an article today confirming that has happened elsewhere. Here is a copy of the article from the ALFA web page that I found interesting.
Harvard researchers have found that a hospital stay is related to a faster rate of mental decline and a heightened risk of dying or entering a nursing home for those who already have Alzheimer’s disease.
A study following nearly 800 individuals with mild Alzheimer’s disease found that those who had been hospitalized during the course of the research were nearly twice as likely to experience increased mental decline or death. Of those who were hospitalized, one in 16 passed away, one is seven had to move to an institutionalized setting, and one in five suffered mental decline within one year of getting out of the hospital. If the individual experienced delirium during his hospital stay, he increased his risk for a poor outcome by about 12 percent.
“Delirium prevention may represent an important strategy for reducing adverse outcomes in this population,” said Dr. Tamara Fong, an assistant professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and lead author of the study. Delirium can be prevented through visits by a family member or other familiar person, supplying the individual with necessary eyeglasses and hearing aids, as well as encouraging the individual to get out of bed often for walks. Delirium can also be prevented by keeping older people out of the hospital and treating them in their homes, said Fong. Researchers emphasized that this study’s results highlight the importance of preventing hospitalizations and delirium, which is most likely to occur when individuals with Alzheimer’s disease experience a sudden change in routine.
Read more about this study, Adverse Outcomes After Hospitalization and Delirium in Persons With Alzheimer Disease, published in the June 19 online issue of Annals of Internal Medicine. Learn more about this study.