When people consider a nursing home, one of the big advantages they will often mention is having multiple care providers. While in some circumstances this can be an advantage, there are many times when having fewer care providers is actually better.
The N.Y. Times recently wrote about the care of a 79 year old woman in Indianapolis. She was suffering from advanced lung disease, chronic heart failure, and diabetes, and her care was compromised because of the different care supporters involved.
In the case of this patient, the primary doctor was advised by a reviewing cardiologist that nothing else could be done for his patient’s condition. In light of this feedback, her multiple advanced conditions and a D.N.R. she had signed, the doctor and patient decided to limit treatment to her nursing home and not use hospital services.
Unaware of her D.N.R. request, the nursing home caregivers sent her to the hospital for treatment when her oxygen levels were low. At the hospital, she was treated, but the treatment, strong medications she was given, and experience of waking up in a strange place surrounded by people she does not know, have left her
Unfortunately, this type of scenario occurs all too often. With skilled nursing facilities often not receiving or not being aware of many patient and family requests, seniors are frequently moved between hospitals and nursing homes.
Because of the number of patients for doctor’s and residents in many nursing homes, test – which for seniors will very often show anomalies - lead to hospitalization rather than an understanding of the condition as it relates to their overall health and personal wishes. This can lead to a cycle that does not improve a patient’s quality of life and can even greatly harm it.
While there are benefits to all types of senior care, in home care affords a big advantage in that the in home care provider is intimately knowledgeable about the senior’s care wishes. This means that in the case of an emergency when an individual may not be able to speak for themselves, there is someone advocating for a senior’s plans rather than someone simply following procedure.