Waking up in a hospital is like waking up in a nightmare — except this one’s all too real and unfolding all around you.
You’re sick… weak… disoriented… and maybe even just back from the brink of death.
You’re pumped full of enough drugs to knock out a moose, but you STILL can’t get any decent sleep thanks to the bright lights, loud noises, and endless poking and prodding.
No wonder so many seniors lose it in there!
Delirium has rapidly and quietly become one of the leading complications facing hospitalized folks on the older side, and new research shows one reason why: Hospitals have no clue how to treat it.
When a senior wakes up and shows the classic signs of delirium, a doc quickly orders up antipsychotic drugs — despite the fact that they’re not even approved for the condition.
They’re not approved because there’s ZERO evidence they’ll do a thing to help. And sure enough, the new research published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society finds they’re about as effective as a kick in the teeth.
This wasn’t just a single study.
The researchers looked at 19 studies that compared antipsychotics to placebos and/or no treatment all, and the drugs came up short by every measure.
They didn’t cure the delirium or even ease it… they didn’t reduce the number of days that seniors battled through the nightmares… they didn’t cut the amount of time spent in the hospital… and they had no effect at all on the length of stay in the ICU.
Heck, if anything, those drugs might even make delirium WORSE — because in many cases, medication is one of the prime causes of the condition.
Seniors in hospitals are given so many meds on top of meds that there’s bound to be a bad egg in the bunch.
Throwing yet another into the mix is like adding kerosene to a fire.
Docs need to REMOVE meds, not add them — and in most cases, if they take a few minutes to go through the list, they’ll find some that are redundant and/or just plain unnecessary.
And along with fewer meds, seniors in a hospital need to be treated with kindness, patience, dignity and respect.
Sure, that’s just common sense. But that seems to fly out the window in hospitals these days.
But a study last year found that a little decency goes a long way. If someone were to actually sit down and talk to you… tell you what’s going on and why you’re there… and be on hand to answer questions and handle concerns… the delirium would most likely vanish rapidly…or not kick in at all.
Since you won’t be in any condition to watch out for yourself if you get delirium, make sure there are folks who can watch out for you if it ever happens…and ensure you get decency instead of drugs.