The number of critically ill patients in the nation's long-term acute care hospitals has more than tripled in the past decade to 380,000, many of them sustained by respirators and feeding tubes, reports The New York Times. Meanwhile, MinnPost examines services for rural seniors who live at home.
The New York Times: At Acute Care Hospitals, Recovery Is Rare, But Comfort Is Not
The man, who asked not to be identified to protect his privacy, was a patient at the Hospital for Special Care here, one of 400 long-term acute care hospitals in the United States. These are no ordinary hospitals: Critically ill patients, sometimes unresponsive or in comas, may live here for months, even years, sustained by respirators and feeding tubes. Some, especially those recovering from accidents, eventually will leave. Others will be here for the rest of their lives (Kolata, 6/23).
MinnPost: To Live At Home, Rural Seniors Need Food, Socialization, Support
Late-in-life care often results in leaving your home for a supervised living situation. Nobody wants to leave their home any earlier than necessary, and since supervised care is expensive, it's often in the best interest of the families and the state to put off that move as long as possible. But that doesn't mean services aren't available. Minnesota is divided into seven Area Agencies on Aging, and these organizations work to provide basic services to the elderly as well as offer information about other services. This installment will focus on some efforts that help rural seniors remain in their homes; future stories will explore housing options, physician shortages, transportation challenges and other rural health concerns for the older patient (Fitzgerald, 6/23).
This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.