Changing Aging Blog

Can We Keep America's Elderly Out of Hospitals?
Date: Jun 24th, 2009 4:46am


Eric Schubert

Evelyn Kubat-Beers, a customer at Ecumen CountrySide  in Owatonna, Minn., began experiencing chest pains in her apartment. Unable to stand, she couldn't reach a phone to call for help. However, QuietCare sensors alerted us to her predicament.  Our colleagues in Owatonna got to her just before she collapsed.  An ambulance rushed her to the hospital. Shortly thereafter, she was back in her own home.  The technology helped alert us early.  Without it, there’s a very good chance that Evelyn would not be alive today or would be in a hospital for an extended, very expensive stay.

This is one example of how senior services is increasingly playing a role in preventive health and keeping people out of hospitals.  We're just nicking the surface of what we think can occur in improving quality of life and lowering expenses bymore smartly integrating health care and senior services. 

For example, many senior services providers provide rehab services.  Hospitals send the patient to us.  We work with them on rehabilitation and the vast majority go home, not back to the hospital.  So why couldn't senior care providers expand that to other areas of chronic care, diabetes, heart disease, etc.?  It would continue to change the role of the nursing home and make it a vital part of integrative care, rather than increasing the extremely expensive, painstaking game of catch that occurs when a person bounces back and forth between a nursing home and a hospital emergency room.

Howard Gleckman, who blogs at Caring for Our Parents,  addresses this topic further and shares several examples working to keep seniors out of hospitals. 

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