Tag Archives: elderly

Efforts pick up steam to expand Medicaid dental benefits for older adults

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health and the author of "Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America." She can be reached at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Garry Knight via Flickr

In a recent story for the Baltimore Sun, reporter Andrea K. McDaniels explored a dilemma getting increasing attention these days – the shortage of affordable and accessible oral health services for the nation’s seniors.

“Jocelyn Chapman’s 86-year-old mother needed major dental work, and her family was trying to figure out how to pay for it,” the story began. Continue reading

New study tracks hospital opioid prescribing for older adults

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in NextAvenue.com, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

Photo: frankieleon via Flickr

Too many physicians are prescribing opioid medications for hospitalized older adults who may not need them. A new study found that one-third of 10,000 older patients were prescribed opioid pain medications, including Percocet and OxyContin, while hospitalized for non-surgical conditions.

These patients had a longer length of stay (six days vs. four) and were more often readmitted within 30 days. They were also more likely to be restrained or have bladder catheters while hospitalized, according to the retrospective analysis. Continue reading

Wellness center tackles low-income seniors’ oral health challenges

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health and the author of "Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America." She can be reached at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Neil Moralee via Flickr

Photo: Neil Moralee via Flickr

An innovative new nonprofit dental clinic in a San Diego senior center is bringing badly needed preventive and restorative care to low-income elders.

The clinic, which celebrated its grand opening in October, also has a broader goal. Organizers at the Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center hope that by providing timely oral health care services to patients, they can improve their overall health as well. Continue reading

Reporter explores the secondary health problems of elderly during hospitalization

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in NextAvenue.com, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

Photo: Heidi de Marco/KHNRon Schwarz, 79, who was hospitalized after falling in the shower, was featured in Anna Gorman’s series for Kaiser Health News on the risks that elderly patients can face when hospitalized.

Photo: Heidi de Marco/KHNRon Schwarz, 79, who was hospitalized after falling in the shower, was featured in Anna Gorman’s series for Kaiser Health News on the risks that elderly patients can face when hospitalized.

People go to the hospital to get better, right?

Unfortunately, that’s not always the case with elderly adults, who can be at greater risk of getting discharged in worse condition than when admitted. This risk not only contributes to higher overall financial and physical health costs – longer hospital stays, time in rehab, worsening memory or fragility – but also threatens a senior’s ability to continue to live at home independently.

Kaiser Health News senior correspondent Anna Gorman looked into this problem – and what’s being done to address it – in her series, Diagnosis: Unprepared. Continue reading

Community paramedics help medically complex homebound avoid hospitalization

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in NextAvenue.com, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

Photo: Liz Seegert/AHCJBernard Cunniffe, shown with his wife Beverly, was assisted by his city’s Community Paramedics initiative after an accident.

Photo: Liz Seegert/AHCJBernard Cunniffe, shown with his wife Beverly, was assisted by his city’s Community Paramedics initiative after an accident.

When 84-year old Bernard Cunniffe fell in the bathroom one morning, his wife called the paramedics. However, rather than transporting the retired NYPD officer  to the emergency department, the specially-trained responders assessed him for trauma, evaluated his vital signs and settled him into his bed.

Cunniffe, who is homebound because of multiple medical conditions, was uninjured but had low oxygen saturation, the likely cause of the fall. The community paramedics quickly stabilized him in consultation with an on-call physician and avoided a trip to the hospital. The Cunniffes were thrilled with the experience. Continue reading