One of our primary responsibilities as home aides is to prevent loved ones from requiring hospitalization. Hospitalizations add great stress and discomfort to seniors, and now there is new evidence that the risk of infection rises when a senior requires hospitalization. In fact, roughly 45 percent of hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) are in patients older than 65, according to Thomas File, MD, president of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.
According to the Alliance for Aging Research some 1.7 million Americans develop hospital-acquired infections each year at a cost ranging from $28.4 billion to $5 billion
Victoria Fraser, MD, a professor of infectious disease at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, told MedPage Today reporter David Pittman, that aging contributes to decreased protections from infections such as changes to the skin and lungs. Immune response is weakened by more chronic conditions such as heart disease which accumulate through time.
“I think there’s a huge emphasis on prevention and control of healthcare-associated infections and antimicrobial resistance among the infectious disease physician and nurse community,” said Dr. Fraser.
The report also noted that when infections do occur in the older population, the burden of illness is high and often the outcome is less favorable. Older patients are two to five times more likely to develop a hospital acquired infection. .
One of the real challenges connected to HAIs is the rise in resistant antibiotics. About 70 percent of hospital-acquired HAIs are resistant to at least one drug.
The message is that the more prevention that can occur at home, the more caregivers can help control and prevent hospitalization. Ask Assisting Hands about our home care programs.
Richard Ueberfluss PT