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Prevent Senior Hospitalizations: Executive Summary

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January 19, 2015

Research conducted by Home Instead, Inc. indicates that the problem of preventable hospitalization of seniors is viewed as very to extremely serious by three-fourths (74.6%) of the North American nurses surveyed who specialize in senior care.

Those same nurses estimate that nearly half of senior hospitalizations (48.5%) could be prevented with early detection and intervention. In addition, the survey indicates that families play a critical role in helping to keep their aging loved ones out of the hospital – with 99% of nurses surveyed saying that the role family plays is as important as the role played by health care professionals.

Delaying or avoiding medical care is one of the most common actions by seniors that puts them at potential risk of needing hospitalization. In addition, not following medical orders can be a clear predictor of potential risk. Three of the top reasons some seniors don’t comply with doctor’s orders – unwillingness to change ways, denial of health issues and apathy – are attitudinal.

Survey results, overall, also indicated that unnecessary hospitalization of seniors can put them at risk for hospital-acquired infections. Involvement of families is key to helping to minimizing these events. Nurses surveyed recommended providing education and instructional resources as a means of helping to reduce hospitalizations.

To provide families with resources to minimize the major risk factors and to play an active role in hospitalization prevention, Home Instead, Inc. has created the Five Ways to Prevent Senior HospitalizationsSM guide. The guide focuses on the following five key actions to help keep seniors safe at home and out of the hospital through proactive and preventative measures:

  • Follow doctor’s orders
  • Don’t ignore symptoms
  • Reduce risk of falls and accidents
  • Stay active physically and mentally
  • Maintain a healthy diet

Each section of the guide outlines some warning signs and risk factors, as well as specific preventative steps and resources. The goal of this guide is to strengthen the role families can take in hospitalization prevention, and to help them feel more confident about actions they can take to help keep their senior safe at home.

In addition, a web-based “Senior Routine Tracker” will help family caregivers tune into the habits of their senior loved ones in an effort to help them avoid the risk of being hospitalized. Here’s more about the research behind the program:

“Prevent Senior Hospitalizations”; Executive Summary U.S. Survey Results

Prevention is Possible

  • Three-fourths of surveyed nurses (74.6%) ranked the issue of preventable hospitalization as a very to extremely serious problem.
  • Nurses surveyed say one of the most important reasons to keep seniors out of the hospital is because they can be at risk of hospital-acquired infections.
  • Winter is the highest risk time of year for senior hospitalization, according to 82% of nurses surveyed.

Family is Key

  • 99% of nurses surveyed agree that the family’s role in keeping seniors healthy and out of the hospital is as important as that of the medical community.
  • One of the most important actions that families can take to help keep their senior parents out of the hospital is to make the senior’s home free of hazards.

(Not) Following Doctor’s Orders

  • Two in five nurses surveyed (43.5%) said the easiest step that seniors can take to help prevent hospitalization is to follow their doctor’s orders.
  • Surveyed nurses estimate that 47% of seniors put off medical appointments or have problems accessing medical care.
  • One of the most common barriers that prevents seniors from complying with doctor’s orders is their unwillingness to change their ways.

Download the full “Prevent Senior Hospitalizations” Executive Summary U.S. Survey Results

“Prevent Senior Hospitalizations”; Executive Summary Canadian Survey Results

Prevention is Possible

  • Three-fourths of nurses surveyed (74.6%) ranked the issue of preventable hospitalization as a very to extremely serious problem.
  • Nurses say one of the most important reasons to keep seniors out of the hospital is because they can be at risk of hospital-acquired infections.
  • Winter is the highest risk time of year for senior hospitalization, according to 82% of nurses surveyed.

Family is Key

  • 99% of nurses surveyed agree that the family’s role in keeping seniors healthy and out of the hospital is as important as that of the medical community.
  • One of the most important actions that families can take to help keep their senior parents out of the hospital is to make the senior’s home free of hazards.

(Not) Following Doctor’s Orders

  • Two in five nurses surveyed (43.5%) said the easiest step that seniors can take to help prevent hospitalization is to follow their doctor’s orders.
  • Surveyed nurses estimate that 47% of seniors put off medical appointments or have problems accessing medical care.
  • One of the most common barriers that prevents seniors from complying with doctor’s orders is their unwillingness to change their ways.

Download the full “Prevent Senior Hospitalizations” Executive Summary Canadian Survey Results

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Thoughts and stories from others
  1. February 3, 2015 at 8:29 am | Posted by John Massey

    Excellent article! Is this available in Spanish. My home care giver does not read English. Thank you, John

    Reply

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