We're familiar with the concept of packing a "Go Bag" in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy, or if serving as active duty military. If you're someone with chronic illness who may need an emergency trip to the hospital, or someone who is at increased risk of hospitalization during the COVID 19 Pandemic, it's a good idea to pack a "Go Bag" now.
In the preceding blogs titled Crash Course in Nursing Homes, Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3, I shared Susan's experiences with illegal nursing home practices and lessons learned. This post summarized the lessons learned for easy reference.
Lesson 1: Rehab/nursing home stays are only covered by Medicare if a patient is first admitted to a hospital for 3 midnights. You may think you're admitted to the hospital but you may actually only be on observation status. Observation status does not qualify you for medicare coverage for a skilled nursing facility. Ask your nurse, doctor, or the admissions team if you are "admitted" or on "observation status."
When they hear "palliative care," most people think "hospice"--but this isn't quite correct. While hospice does include palliative care, palliative care is not limited to patients qualified for hospice. Palliative care focuses on relief from the symptoms of illness and addresses physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. Many hospital systems now employ palliative care specialists and some outpatient centers do as well. Some hospice organizations are offering palliative care services in the home to patients not qualified for hospice.
Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) are an infection anywhere in the urinary tract system, though we commonly think of them as bladder infections. For most younger adults, they are a simple infection that causes pain in the low pelvis, burning with urination and frequency. However, as we age, typical symptoms are different and the infections can be more serious. UTIs are a common source of infection in the elderly, ranked #2 after upper respiratory infections. If untreated, they can lead to infection of the kidneys (pyelonephritis), sepsis (overwhelming infection in the blood stream), and even death.