Hamilton, ON – January 21, 2015 – As Hamilton plunges into the heart of the winter season, the risk of local seniors being hospitalized spikes to its highest of the year, despite the fact that almost half of these hospitalizations (49%) can be avoided with proper prevention.* According to a new study of nurses who work primarily with seniors, January, February and March are the height of hospitalization season for seniors due primarily to respiratory infections, such as flu or pneumonia, and other winter hazards.
The critical factor in reducing this spike in area hospitalizations this winter is family involvement. Nearly all nurses (99%) surveyed say that the role families play in keeping seniors out of the hospital is just as important as the role of the medical community.
Knowing that a hospital stay can actually lead to more serious health declines, local senior care experts are mounting an informational campaign to educate families and decrease hospitalizations so that seniors may remain at home and healthy year-round.
“Keeping seniors safe at home and out of the hospital starts with family intervention,” said Jeremy Grant, owner of the Home Instead Senior Care® franchise serving Hamilton. “It could be as simple as making sure your parents are using assistive equipment to avoid falls or suggesting they see a doctor for any new aches or symptoms.”
The most common action by seniors that puts them at risk of hospitalization is waiting too long to seek medical attention, according to the nurses surveyed. They estimate that nearly half of all seniors (47%) put off medical appointments or have problems accessing medical care.
“Not following doctor’s orders also puts seniors at risk,” Grant said. “Families play a critical role in making sure they fully understand and comply with medical instructions.”
To help families identify and act on potential warning signs, Home Instead Senior Care is offering The Five Ways to Prevent Senior Hospitalizations guide, which was developed with the expert assistance of Norma Mamaril retired RN, BSCN, GEM at Windsor Regional Hospital’s Ouellette Campus.
The free guide includes information about common risk factors and the steps that families can take to help ensure a healthy lifestyle.
The recommendations include:
Additional free resources can be found at www.preventseniorhospitalizations.ca. To obtain a copy of the Five Ways to Prevent Senior Hospitalizations guide, please call 905-521-5500.
* Home Instead, Inc. completed telephone interviews with a random sample of 100 Canadian nurses and 300 American nurses who work with seniors. The nurses surveyed work in the following community-based settings: hospitals; doctor offices and clinics; adult day care; and home health companies.
Home Instead offers free monthly newsletters with tips and advice for caregivers of elderly loved ones.