Home care assistance for Alzheimer’s patients may help slow mental decline following a hospital stay.
According to a recent study published in the June 19 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine, Alzheimer’s patients who have been admitted to the hospital have a greater chance for accelerated mental decline following their admission. This decline can result in a later transition to a nursing home or even death. However, according to study researchers, having someone familiar at the hospital or available to offer Alzheimer’s care while making the transition home, can help slow the decline process.
The researchers studied 800 people with mild cases of Alzheimer’s disease. Each person was admitted to the hospital for one reason or another (fall, fainting, heart problems, abdominal pain, infection, etc.) and was evaluated for mental decline following their admission. According to the study results, those who visited the hospital were twice as likely to have poorer mental capabilities following the stay.
Delirium was the most common indicator of accelerated mental decay for hospital patients. If an Alzheimer patient experienced symptoms of delirium including heightened confusion and unusual mood or behavior during their hospital stay, they were more likely to experience significant mental decline. According to the study, 41% of patients who were hospitalized with delirium experienced accelerated mental decline in the following year (as measured by a memory and concentration test). In contrast, only 23% of patients hospitalized without delirium or not hospitalized at all experienced later accelerated mental decline.
In addition, those who experienced delirium in the hospital were 9.3 times more likely to be institutionalized than those who did not go to the hospital. They were also 5.4 times more likely to die than those who never visited the hospital.
This is the first study to significantly link hospital stays and delirium with accelerated mental decline in Alzheimer’s patients. Researchers suggested that it is possible to prevent decline by having family or friends visit the patient during their stay, helping the patient get up and walk around often, and by avoiding medication that can increase confusion.
Home Care as Prevention
One researcher even mentioned that keeping older people out of the hospital and treating them at home might also help prevent chances of delirium and accelerated mental decline.
Following the hospital stay, the transition to home is an important process for Alzheimer’s care patients. It is helpful to have a family member or friend available to assist patients or to hire a home care service provider like ComForcare Home Care who can provide Alzheimer’s care and help them ease back into their previous routine. ComForcare offers an award-winning transition of care program that specifically focuses on making the transition from the hospital to home a comfortable one.
The key to ensuring recovery and return to one’s previous level of independence is continuity of care after a hospital stay or outpatient procedure. ComForcare can provide this care with its one-time transition of care packages.
About ComForcare Home Care
ComForcare is a premier provider of private-duty home care services to people of all ages with offices conveniently located nationwide. Each office provides caregivers who make life easier for those coping with a chronic medical condition, recovering from an illness or injury, or dealing with the challenges of aging – in the comfort of their own home. ComForcare offers elderly care services including personal care, homemaking, transportation, companionship and family respite services to improve the quality of life and level of independence for every individual and family receiving its services. Each ComForcare office is independently owned and operated.
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