Hospitals

Too Many Colonoscopies in the Elderly

Courtesy Fight Colorectal Cancer Visitors tour an inflatable simulated colon, complete with polyps, created by a cancer prevention group. Bill Fullington doesn’t remember exactly where he read that all adults over age 50 should be screened for colon cancer. A magazine? Maybe the local paper? In any case, Mr. Fullington, a retired teacher in Birmingham,(…)

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Hospital Alarms Fail to Prevent Injury, Study Finds

When it comes to protecting older people from falls, it can take a long time to figure out what helps and sometimes an even longer time to take action against things that were supposed to help but don’t. A case in point: the so-called safety rails on hospital and nursing home beds. Their hazards, as(…)

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New Efforts to Close Hospitals’ Revolving Doors

Joshua Lott for The New York Times Sue Koner, a transition care manager for Sun Health, checks Ted Cohn’s blood pressure to try to prevent his readmission to a hospital for a heart condition. In the past, the only thing a patient was sure to get after a hospital stay was a bill. But as(…)

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How to Bypass the Revolving Door

Last week, I wrote about older people in nursing homes who are transferred to hospitals when their health takes a turn for the worse, even if they don’t want aggressive medical interventions. And you responded with dozens of stories about relatives who had had these experiences. In fact, researchers who have studied the revolving door(…)

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Hard Decisions in the I.C.U.

Getty Images Your relative has spent five days in a hospital intensive care unit, unable to breathe without a ventilator and incapable of making her own medical decisions. Because she appointed you her health care proxy, or simply because you’re her closest relative, the choices about treatments — trying them or stopping them — fall(…)

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In the Hospital, but Not Really a Patient

On Labor Day weekend in 2009, Miriam Nyman, 83, arrived by ambulance at Rhode Island Hospital. She’d fallen, a result of a degenerative brain disorder, and broken her neck. She and her daughter, Tamar Lasky, waited in the emergency room for eight hours until finally, close to midnight, Dr. Lasky needed to go home to(…)

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At the End, a Rush to the E.R.

What elderly person wants to spend time in an emergency room? They’re so chaotic and uncomfortable that several hospitals have opened calmer, more specialized emergency units particularly designed for their oldest patients. But how much more distressing is an E.R. visit for someone who’s within weeks of dying? Dr. Alexander Smith, a palliative care specialist(…)

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