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Hospital Can Make a Difference for Senior Loved One

Family caregivers whose seniors are going into the hospital should do their research to ensure a senior loved one is getting the best possible care. Help at home after an older adult returns from the hospital should be a consideration as well.


Q.    My 83-year-old mother is going into the hospital for coronary bypass surgery. Do you think all hospitals are the same or should I shop around? What can I do to help with her recovery?


Sadly, not all hospitals are the same. Patients have on average a 52 percent lower chance of dying at the nation’s top-rated hospitals compared with the lowest-rated hospitals in the 12th annual HealthGrades Hospital Quality in America Study, issued by HealthGrades, the leading independent healthcare ratings organization.

The study examined nearly 40 million Medicare hospitalization records for the years 2006, 2007 and 2008. The study looks at trends in mortality and complication rates, and provides the foundation for HealthGrades’ quality ratings of procedures and diagnoses at each individual hospital.

Overall, in-hospital, risk-adjusted mortality at the nation’s hospitals improved, on average, 10.99 percent from 2006 through 2008. However, the largest annual study of patient outcomes at each of the nation’s 5,000 non-federal hospitals found a wide gap in quality between the nation’s best hospitals and all others.

According to the study, while patients at highly rated hospitals have a 52 percent lower chance of dying compared with the U.S. hospital average, a quality chasm has persisted for the last decade even as mortality rates, in general, have declined.

Across all 17 procedures and diagnoses in which mortality was studied, there was an approximate 71.64 percent lower chance of dying in a 5-star rated hospital compared with a 1-star rated hospital. Across all 17 procedures and diagnoses studied, there was an approximate 51.53 percent lower chance of dying in a 5-star rated hospital compared with the national average.

It will be to your loved one’s benefit to do your homework about hospitals.  When your mom has completed her hospital stay, research the resources in her area that can help her successfully rehabilitate. Those could include home health aides and non-medical caregiving services such as those provided by Home Instead Senior Care.


Non-medical services include meal preparation, light housekeeping, medication reminders, errands and shopping – all tasks that your mom may need help with for a while.


For more information about the study and to check the ratings of a hospital near your mom, go to