As the owner of a senior home care agency in greater Austin, Texas, I have had the pleasure of helping thousands of seniors and families in their quest to age successfully in the place of their choice – usually their own home. What we have seen over our decade-plus in senior care is the number of “Senior Failures” (hospital admissions, readmissions, going into nursing homes and even death) are far higher than they need to be.
There are many reasons for these failures in the senior population including heart disease, cancer, diabetes and many other chronic diseases for sure. However, there are a significant number of “failures” caused directly by non-medical factors that can take many good years away from our loved ones such as: safety factors, falls, improper medication management, diet, hydration and many more.
Seniors and their families can have a healthier and happier life & successfully age in the place of their choice
In this blog series, “Delivering Better Outcomes for Seniors”, we will explore new research and methods that address the hundreds of factors that lead to failures in the senior population and which directly affect the quality of life for families and their loved ones.
Who is responsible for fixing the problem that caused the fall?
A scenario we see often is a senior experienced a fall in the home which required hospitalization followed by a short-term rehabilitation stay. The senior is then discharged to home with a few weeks of home health visits for nursing or physical therapy. While this is all great, and certainly a necessity, who is looking at what caused the fall to begin with? Did the senior trip over a rug? Slip in the bathroom? Over or under medicate? Fall out of bed because the mattress was too high? Did not know what to do when their blood pressure was too low? The answer to these questions are often not addressed and thus the underlying issue never gets resolved.
Need for a better care model in the home
Research conducted by Performance Based Healthcare Solutions and Senior Helpers over approximately two decades observed more than 30,000 seniors in order to categorize the medical and non-medical causes of the failures that seniors experienced and, more importantly, what we can do to prevent the failures from occurring!
What we found was astonishing. While 40-50% of the failures were attributed to the individual medical condition, another 50+% of the failures in the senior population were directly caused by:
· Inability to manage the medical condition (obtain & take medications, monitor vitals)
· Home safety issues (accessible poisons, mobility, entry/exits, home cleanliness)
· Everyday needs not being met (shopping, nutrition, ADLs, iADLs)
· Burden of care on the primary caregiver (if they fail - the senior fails)
· Quality of Life (motivation, need to belong, the desire to live better & longer)
What the research found was astonishing. More than half of senior failures are caused by non-medical issues
So, bookmark this blog and share with friends and family as we will take a journey together through the five research topics listed above in detail.
In the meantime, learn more about how this research is implemented to help seniors and their loved ones age in place successfully here.
Frank Hayes is the Owner of Senior Helpers in greater Austin Texas and a Research Fellow with Performance Based Healthcare Solutions. He can be reached at FHayes@seniorhelpers.com . Senior Helpers’ Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/SeniorHelpersCentralTexas/