Update–Best Hospital Geriatric Department Visit

Unless it’s an emergency, simply deciding to take a major step to help parents age well often takes time.  And once the decision is made, additional time may be necessary before an aging parent receives help.

My July 17th post, Aging Parents, Best Hospitals, 16 Specialties, 5 Reasons to Consider Them encouraged at least one adult child to make an appointment at Mt. Sinai, ranked #1 in geriatrics. Her email:

Hi Susan,
Just wanted to let you know that it took a while to get my mother (age 90) an appointment at the Martha Stewart Living Center at Mt. Sinai Hospital but it was well worth the wait.  Her evaluation was quite thorough.  It took over two hours.  Some of her medications were changed; the geriatrician recommended that she start physical therapy again; and consulted with her primary physician.

Today I visited her and asked her how she was feeling
with her new medications.  She said she no longer felt “foggy” and “sleepy” and that this new drug helped the chronic pain she was feeling. What was this drug?  Tylenol! It replaced the potent pain killer she had been taking.  Thank you for bringing this geriatric clinic to my attention.  We go back for a follow-up in a few months.  Karen

PS. She loved the geriatrician who treated her with such respect and interest.  He paid attention to everything she said, did not rush and really treated her like a person. It was so wonderful for me to see her treated so well.

Dear Karen,
Thank you for sharing.  It sounds like it may often be necessary to wait for an appointment. That’s helpful to know. And it’s wonderful to know that your elderly mother is feeling alert, has less pain and “loved” the geriatrician.  Susan
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Because many caring children with aging parents are on fast forward and overload, it’s understandable that we put off initiating certain things that may help our parents–until it’s a crisis.  It sounds like Karen didn’t wait for a crisis.  So like Karen, we may save our parents discomfort–and ourselves precious time and concern about their discomfort–if we just “do it.”


Related: Healthgrades Geriatric Medicine State Directory 

Check out “Newsworthy” (right sidebar). Links to timely tips, information and research from top universities. respected professionals and selected publications–to help parents age well.

Aging Parents, Best Hospitals, 16 Specialties, 5 Reasons to Consider Them

Mt. Sinai Hospital Ranked #1 in Geriatrics–2010-2011


Mt. Sinai Hospital’s Geriatrics Department, started by Dr. Robert Butler in 1982, (last Tuesday’s post) was ranked #1 in the August 2010  US News & World Report’s “Best Hospitals” issue, on news stands this week. An additional 49 hospitals’ geriatric departments complete the list.

Fifteen other specialty departments are also ranked. And Johns Hopkins Hospital ranks #1 as the top hospital in the country–having 15 of the 16 specialties ranking at or near the top. US News & World Report compiles this list every year (and has done so for over 20 years) “to guide patients who need an unusually high level of hospital care” (which includes high-risk patients).  Can’t this information be of enormous benefit to help aging parents?

Life takes on a more delicate balance as people age.  Making well-informed decisions ups the odds in our efforts to help parents age well.

5 reasons to consider the best hospitals’ specialties to help aging parents

1. Approximately the same time is involved, be it for procedures done in excellent hospitals or less than excellent hospitals; with excellent doctors or less excellent doctors. Only the outcomes may be different.

2. Quality of life is at risk; the more experienced the hospital and medical professionals are (the more times they’ve done your parents’ needed procedure) the better the odds to have encountered  and handled well unexpected problems.

3. Older people don’t bounce back so quickly. Patients lose independence in hospitals. It’s important they gain the confidence to feel some control. Ideally professionals working in the best hospitals’ specialties departments should have done “it” (what ever your parents’ medical situation is), worked with “it,” handled “it”–over and over and over.  Thus, they can instill confidence in you and your parents based on countless experiences with the expected and unexpected.

4. It takes hard work to recover well from certain procedures.  The skill of the professionals in the follow-up is a significant factor in hastening recovery and instilling a positive outlook. Elderly parents need to do whatever is necessary to move forward so the hospital experience doesn’t take then down a notch.

5. And yet–there are emergencies when we do what we must in a hurry. And there are times when we know the decisions we make are crucial and we may get only one chance to do it right. But even then, the professionals in the best hospitals can come to the rescue.

Have you had this experience?

Two true stories will bring the “best hospitals” theme to life in this coming Tuesday’s post. One an emergency (stroke); the other a well-thought out (after arguments and pressure) plan to treat advanced colon cancer. While not planned at the outset of the each health crisis, the best hospitals figured prominently in both. In the meantime, US News & World Report is at your newsstand now.