Published on:

At Home Or In A Hospital, Alzheimer’s Patients Need Specialized Care

Alzheimer's Patients Need Specialized CareWith over 5 million people suffering from Alzheimer’s in the U.S. alone, it has become a strain on the families and healthcare system that try to help the victims of this disease. Part of making their lives as stress free and comfortable as possible is giving them a familiar environment where they feel safe. Unfortunately, due to their illness, they often have to be brought to a hospital where this sense of security is quickly lost.

Effects Of Hospital Stays On Alzheimer’s Patients

States of delirium when stressed or confused can happen for many patients of Alzheimer’s. This can cause even more damage to their deteriorating condition. Emergency room visits and hospital stays can be very stressful for anyone, especially someone with occasional memory loss. Waking up in a strange bed in a strange place can cause the patient to react in a negative way, by trying to escape or acting out aggressively.

A Harvard study recently published in the Annals of Internals Medicine shows a link to hospitalization and deterioration of Alzheimer’s patient’s condition. The study focused on 771 higher-functioning Alzheimer’s patients that had at-home care that were hospitalized. About 25% of the patients had a bout of delirium during their hospital stay and of these patients, 43% ended up being put into a nursing home and 15% of them died within the next year. The reason for the link has not been determined, but it is thought that the episodes of delirium can cause additional damage to the brain.

Reducing Stress During Hospital Stays

While it may be impossible to avoid hospital stays for Alzheimer patients, there are ways to reduce the possibility of upsetting the patient and causing an adverse reaction. The Alzheimer Association suggests the following for caregivers to avoid unneeded stress for these patients:

  • Prepare ahead of time. Even for unexpected stays, having a plan can help reduce the stress of a hospital stay. Have a kit prepared that includes the patient’s regular medications, insurance information, notes on particular needs or issues and a change of clothes. This will help you be able to focus on reassuring the patient instead of hunting for these things when you need them.
  • Remain with the person as much as possible. Try to be there when they wake up, when medication is being given and when doctors and other strangers enter the room.
  • Leave communication for when you are not there. If you must leave them alone, leave a note for them describing where they are and when you will be back.
  • Have 24-hour care. If possible, have someone that can be with them 24-hours a day that they are familiar with. Call on friends and family to do shifts, or use a trusted caregiver.

By making the hospital stay as comfortable and safe as possible, you can reduce the negative impact on your loved one. Surrounding them with familiar faces and items they recognize can go a long way in reducing their anxiety. By preparing for the inevitable, you will be more ready to handle the situation and be able to do the most important task of all; be there by their side.

Resources For Caring For Alzheimer’s Patients:

Client Reviews

  • Having worked in the medical field, I appreciated the way that Mr. Rosenfeld and his staff approached my family’s situation. The combination of medical knowledge and legal expertise was indeed the winning combination for our case.
  • While nothing can change the way our mother was treated at a nursing facility, I do feel a sense of vindication that the facility was forced to pay for their treatment. I am certain that they would never have done had my attorneys not held their feet to the fire.
  • I was very nervous about initiating a claim against my mother’s nursing facility, but Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers took care of everything from getting the medical records to going to court. I felt like I had real advocates on my side. That meant a lot to me.
  • After a horrific episode at a nursing home, my sister and I spoke to a number of law firms. No one took the time to answer our questions and explain the legal process like Mr. Rosenfeld. He did a tremendous job on our case and I can see why he’s earned the praise he has from clients and peers.
  • I liked the fact that I could call the office and ask questions about the legal process at anytime. I could tell that my case was in good hands. I think that this was reflected in my father’s settlement was more than I anticipated the case ever being worth.