senior man eating in hospital room

Turkey, Mashed Potatoes, and…an Emergency Room Visit?

senior man eating in hospital room

Avoid an emergency room visit this holiday season with these tips.

While we’d like to picture enjoying a Norman Rockwell-worthy Thanksgiving celebration, with all of our loved ones spending quality time together and Mom’s traditional holiday feast, the reality for many families instead includes something unanticipated: an emergency room visit. As a matter of fact, research shows that E/R visits for the elderly jump as much as 10 – 20% over the holidays.

While determining the exact reason behind this increase is tricky, one factor could be family members who haven’t been spending as much time with an elderly relative in the timeframe prior to the holiday season, only to find during holiday visiting that his or her condition has deteriorated.

Dr. Tamara Kuittinen of Lenox Hill Hospital shares, “It’s an issue of out of sight, out of mind for many people. If you haven’t seen your mom in six months, you may not be fully aware of the aging process and her health in general.”

Not only that, but there are some typical changes related to aging that could be misinterpreted, causing family members to believe that an emergency room visit is necessary.

There are, however, several proactive steps that can be taken to prevent a holiday emergency:

  • Keep a list of contact information for your loved one’s primary care physician and other medical specialists. Be sure the list includes all medications prescribed by each doctor and any medication allergies or other concerns. Contacting the appropriate doctor for his or her recommendations about your concerns is a good first step before an emergency room visit, unless the senior is experiencing a true emergency.
  • Talk with the senior about assigning a health care proxy, who will serve as a voice in making health decisions if your loved one is unable to do so. Make sure a living will is also in place as well.
  • Check in with the senior routinely during the course of the year. For family members who live at a distance, it’s helpful to enlist the aid of your loved one’s neighbors or close friends to visit the senior on a regular basis and to keep you updated with any changes they pick up on.

Of course, if it is an actual emergency, never hesitate to call 911 and seek the emergency medical care needed immediately.

A professional geriatric and pediatric home healthcare agency, like Harmony Home Health & Hospice, is the perfect solution to ensure your loved ones remain healthy and well, and that any changes in condition are addressed immediately – so that the holiday season will remain as festive and enjoyable as it should be. Just several of the many ways we can help include:

  • Medication management
  • Chronic disease management
  • Infusion services
  • Balance improvement
  • Professional in-home therapy services
  • And many others

Contact us at 1-877-I-NEED-CARE (1-877-463-3322) to request a free in-home consultation to learn more about our customized home healthcare services and to see if our services are available in your area.