The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Food & Health

December 4, 2013

Elderly can face prolonged delirium post-surgery

DEAR DR. ROACH: One week ago, my 99-year-old dad tripped over a metal strip that connects carpet to tile in a brightly lit concession area at a local movie theater and broke his left hip. Surgery was performed the next day, and he has been suffering the side effects ever since. Hospital personnel told me he would need rehab after the fact, but no one mentioned the effects of anesthesia on the very elderly. He had had throat stretching done twice in the past five years and came out of that anesthesia the very same person who went under, so I was quite unprepared for his current state.

He is suffering from delirium, and has not eaten since before he fell, as he refuses to swallow anything. He is on an IV started a few days ago.

As an only child, I am tasked with finding the appropriate rehab/nursing facility for when he is released. I have tried word-of-mouth and the Medicare site and have visited several locations. How do I choose the one that is right for him? He was very independent previously, even drove his car to errands and lived at an independent-living retirement home. I am heartsick over this entire situation and additionally stressed to make the right decision. —L.D.H.

ANSWER: This is indeed a difficult situation, and your father is lucky to have a concerned child to help him.

First of all, despite the broken hip and the complication of delirium, your father has a good chance of getting back to his function, before breaking his hip. But both delirium and a fractured hip are serious. Delirium is common in the elderly during hospitalizations, and it can be devastating. People with post-surgery delirium can return to normal functioning, but it can take months. Recovery from physical injury, such as the hip fracture, is much slower during delirium.

Text Only
Food & Health
  • American sunscreens need an upgrade

    The last time a new sunscreen ingredient came on the U.S. market, the Y2K bug was threatening to destroy our way of life. Intel had just introduced the Pentium III processor, featuring an amazing 500 MHz of computing power.

    April 24, 2014

  • A 'wearable robot' helps her walk again

    Science is about facts, numbers, laws and formulas. To be really good at it, you need to spend a lot of time in school. But science is also about something more: dreaming big and helping people.

    April 23, 2014

  • Center warns people of fertilizer dangers IOWA CITY (AP) -- Doctors at the University of Iowa Burn Treatment Center are worried by a spike in injuries from anhydrous ammonia, a chemical used to fertilize corn crops. The center usually sees one or two cases of burns in a year, but this spring

    April 23, 2014

  • New Americans turn to goats to address food demand COLCHESTER, Vt. -- A bunch of kids in a minivan are solving twin challenges in northern Vermont: refugees struggling to find the food of their homelands and farmers looking to offload unwanted livestock. The half dozen kids -- that is, baby goats --

    April 22, 2014

  • FDA Electronic Cigarettes-3 [Duplicate] Industry awaits federal regulation RICHMOND, Va. -- Smokers are increasingly turning to battery-powered electronic cigarettes to get their nicotine fix. They're about to find out what federal regulators have to say about the popular devices. The Food and Drug Administration will propo

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Do your genes make you procrastinate?

    Procrastinators, in my experience, like nothing better than explaining away their procrastination: General busyness, fear of failure, and simple laziness are just a handful of the excuses and theories often tossed around. Now researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder have added another option to the list: genetics.

    April 21, 2014

  • Kids get codeine in ER despite risks, guidelines

    Despite recommended limits on codeine use in children, the potent painkiller is prescribed for children in at least half a million emergency room visits each year, a study suggests.

    Use of the drug in that setting is hardly rampant — just 3 percent of kids' ER visits resulted in a codeine prescription in 2010, the 10-year study found. But with more than 25 million ER visits by children each year, the authors say far too many kids are getting the drug when better options are available.

    April 21, 2014

  • USDA orders farms to report pig virus infections MILWAUKEE -- Farms stricken with a deadly pig virus must report outbreaks as part of a new program to help monitor and possibly control the spread of the disease, the federal government announced Friday. Porcine epidemic diarrhea has killed millions

    April 19, 2014

  • The case for separate beds

    The other night I slept on a twin bed in the guest room of the house I share with my husband and our two kids.
    It was the best night's sleep I've had in years.

    April 17, 2014

  • Raw oysters spike U.S. rise in bacterial infections, CDC reports

    Raw oysters, so good with hot sauce, increasingly can carry something even more unsettling to the stomach: A bacteria linked to vomiting, diarrhea and pain.

    April 17, 2014

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.