There is an important service that should be performed by every Assisted Living Facility when they take on the responsibility of caring for a loved one in your family.
In fact I encourage you to add this to your list of criteria when selecting a facility particularly when you are dealing with a senior who is frail or has memory care issues. The question: When a resident is sent out of the facility to the hospital Emergency Room, do they send a person from the facility to act as an patient advocate? An advocate can speak about the medical condition and needs of that resident, can explain the resident’s baseline condition, medication list, allergies, recent behavior and issues surrounding the circumstances leading to the visit to the ER.
Too often residents get sent out on their own to an ER and the hospital staff don’t know the circumstances of the crisis or the background of this resident, now patient. Family members are often summoned to come and help. Many times the family members that can come to the ER are the ones who are most available at the time, but they may not be providing current vital information because they are not up to date on the resident’s condition or they don’t understand the true medical condition of their loved one. Memory care residents struggling with a crisis can be extremely difficult to deal with and figure out when they are not in the company of an informed advocate.
Sending an informed patient advocate to the ER, will lead to a reduction in hospital admissions, a reduction in return trips to the ER, faster recovery times due to better diagnosis and more appropriate medical solutions put in place. There is a reduction in stress for the resident because they have a trusted familiar person with them to help navigate this crisis. The ER doctors and nurses really appreciate having the information and will actually often show preferential treatment in terms of getting this patient taken care of because they have the ability to order tests and eliminate probable causes faster. Make sure your loved one has someone to speak on their behalf when they get sent to the ER.
Editor’s Note: This article was submitted by Russ Udelhofen, Administrator of Jaxpointe Assisted Living and Memory Care Homes. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.