When you are caring for a loved one and new or distressing symptoms occur it can be difficult to know what to do. It seems all too often, these situations come up on weekends, holidays or in the evening making it difficult to contact your physician. This can lead to repeated trips to the Emergency Department and hospitalizations. This guide is to help you make decisions based on your values and goals so that you can avoid unnecessary and disruptive visits to the hospital.

Hospitals can be places of healing, but for frail, older people going to the hospital can hold few miracles and many dangers.  Complications of being in the hospital that are common for frail people who are over age 70 and have multiple medical problems can include:

  • Increased confusion, mental status changes and decline

  • Delirium which can come on suddenly and include behavioral changes such as anger and belligerence, or a quiet delirium in which the person is less communicative and more withdrawn. Delirium is a serious complication and is often over-looked by hospital staff.

  • Increased risk of acquiring an infection

  • Increased risk of falling in an unfamiliar environment

If your goal is to avoid taking your loved one to the Emergency Department and you want to prevent possibly unnecessary stays in the hospital this interactive decision-tree guide is for you. Click Here to Start