Just being in the hospital can cause certain problems, particularly infections (called hospital-acquired infections). Other problems include
- Problems associated with extended bed rest, including pressure sores
- Confusion and decline in mental function
- Inability to urinate
- Lack of sleep
Sometimes one problem leads to another. When hospitalized, certain people—those who are confused, depressed, or undernourished or who are older—often become less able to take care of themselves. People who cannot adequately care for themselves are more likely to have longer stays in hospital and end up being sent to a nursing home after discharge.
If the person or family members anticipate problems, they should discuss preventive measures with staff members. For example, if communicating is a problem because English is not the person’s first language or if hearing is impaired, family members should tell hospital staff members. Staff members can take measures to help, such as arranging for someone to translate.