“Well, there’s a lot of things, infection is probably the biggest one, bleeding, many elderly people take some kind of anticoagulants and we hope that everybody knows that, but they’re not always great historians. Failure of the procedure for some other reason, like they didn’t follow the instructions of what the aftercare was supposed to be. Sometimes, there are failures of surgical procedures that are not anybody’s fault. They just couldn’t fix whatever the problem was, but can certainly increase the probability of it being a successful outcome if somebody’s on top of it watching what’s going on.
When I first went to work as a nurse in the 70s, it was common if you came in and you had a hernia repaired that you would be in the hospital for five days. If you had a colon resection or back surgery, or hip surgery of some kind, you would be in the hospital two maybe two and a half weeks. Now, you can have open heart surgery and be home in three days. Getting your gallbladder out is an outpatient procedure, so is a hernia repair, and some of that is good, because you’re less likely to catch something contagious that could cause a wound infection or a respiratory infection if you’re not in a place where everybody is sick.
But at the same time, the care that used to be provided in those days in the hospital, the patient is on their own now, unless they arrange for care with somebody to come in and help with the heavy lifting part, make sure they’re safe in and out of the shower, make sure they’re eating what they’re supposed to be eating, that all of bodily functions return to normal, and that somebody is addressing it if they don’t.”
Anita Roberrson RN
Director of Nursing | Aging Life Care Manager