Caregivers in Fairbanks Ranch are often contacted after an injury or sudden decline in health makes it dangerous for a senior to live without daily assistance. Many times, this situation is immediately preceded by a stay in the hospital. A group of researchers wondered, however, if the process of hospitalization itself could be contributing to cognitive decline. Their findings are significant, although they seem to raise more questions than they answer.
Accelerating the Need for Caregivers?
Trying to find out whether a stay in the hospital increases the need for caregivers because of mental decline is a very difficult task, since hospitalization always occurs in close connection with serious medical conditions. It is almost impossible in any one case to show whether the medical condition or the hospital stay is primarily responsible for the decline. In order to get a clearer picture, the researchers began with a large study group (over 1,500 members) who had been hospitalized for a wide variety of reasons.
Each member was periodically analyzed to determine his or her current state of cognitive decline (or lack of it). The study had many other stipulations, all of which served to exclude irregularities and deceptive data from the results of this tricky test. When the results were added up, they showed that the subjects were 2.4 times more likely to experience cognitive decline following a hospital stay.
What it Means
Remember that the hospital stays among the test subjects were caused by many different medical causes. This means that the hospital visit was virtually the only common factor among cases, and it appeared to increase the risk of mental decline by 240 percent. Using this information to formulate possible solutions will be almost as difficult as obtaining the information in the first place, but caregivers in Fairbanks Ranch hope that our elderly loved ones will soon gain some help in weathering a stressful hospital stay without risking the loss of cognitive functions.
Originally posted 2012-05-30 17:00:15.