When Hospitals Help and Hurt Residents
The Continuum of Care
Skilled nursing facilities, nursing homes, and continuing care residential communities (CCRCs) are designed to accommodate seniors at different points along what is euphemistically known as the “continuum of care”: namely, the progression of illness and disability that affects many seniors as they age. While many seniors may enter a facility like a CCRC, which is designed to accommodate seniors all along the continuum, with little or no serious conditions, some will develop them later, and they and their families will have to decide when is the right moment to move to the next level of more intensive (and expensive) care. However, more seniors, families, and caretakers are starting to rethink what is often the last point on the continuum: hospitalization.
The Role of Hospitals in Seniors Care
While there are fairly few people who want to end their lives in a hospital, it’s sadly common for seniors to end up there in their last days. It’s hard for families to determine which incidents are treatable and can be solved with a trip to the hospital, and which are simply the result of the human condition, and are a sign that they should pay their last respects rather than stuff their loved one into an ambulance for a futile trip to the ER. Our Alameda nursing home abuse attorneys have seen cases where excessive hospitalizations can lead to both financial and medical hardship for seniors and their families.
A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that nursing homes that talked with seniors and their families were less likely to have unnecessary hospitalizations for their patients, and presumably more likely to handle end-of-life care in house. While hospitals are certainly the best place to go for life saving treatment, it’s long been understood that learning to let go is the best option after a certain point. Setting aside the very high cost that long-term, intensive treatment hospitalization can have for seniors and their families, the hiss of oxygen, gurgle of feeding tubes, and uncomfortable beds aren’t a conducive environment for saying goodbye to loved ones.
Ensuring Optimal Treatment
It goes without saying that deciding what is and isn’t a necessary hospitalization is something that seniors and their families should decide. Drafting an advance Healthcare Directive, discussing end-of-life care and wishes, and spending time with family can all help lead to better outcomes. However, CCRCs and skilled nursing facilities can’t step in and make these decisions on their own. Family needs to be immediately notified of any changes, and kept in the loop if situations develop. Our Alameda nursing home abuse attorneys believe that family members need to make sure that their loved ones’ nursing homes are keeping them informed about their medical condition.
If you or a loved one has experienced nursing home abuse in California, contact the Evans Law Firm nursing home abuse attorneys at (415) 441-8669, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our attorneys have experience with complex financial contracts and large insurance companies. We can help guide your case through a jury trial or toward an equitable settlement. We handle cases involving physical and financial elder abuse, qui tam and whistleblower law, nursing home abuse, whole life insurance and universal life insurance, and indexed, variable, and fixed annuities.