Improvements in staffing would lead to fewer hospitalizations of nursing home patients

More than one-third of all hospitalizations of nursing home residents could be prevented if nursing staff recognized symptoms of increasing illness sooner and doctors were more readily available at the nursing homes, a new national study said.

Moving nursing home residents to hospitals can be very disruptive and disorienting, particularly for patients with dementia. And hospitalizing frail, elderly patients often results in unintended problems, such as bedsores, infections, and decline because of immobilization.

Often patients are hospitalized for easily preventable and treatable conditions like dehydration, urinary tract infections, chronic pulmonary disease, and congestive heart failure. Hospitalizations for these problems are easily avoidable if recognized and treated early enough.

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