Seniors Air Concerns about Health Care

Seniors Air Concerns about Health Care

Area seniors feel hospital medication is not carefully managed, according to Esther Trask, president, Loudoun County's AARP Chapter 1581. They say that hospitals are not aware of the reactions that their older bodies have to certain medications.

Trask outlined seniors' major health-care concerns at the AARP's meeting on Oct. 12.

Seniors also claim to be unhappy with the service at the hospitals. Some have complained about their cleanliness. Another issue involves transfer of patients from hospital to hospital. This change can prolong recovery and make it more difficult, they said.

Trask reported that seniors also say that doctors are releasing them too quickly or Òquicker and sicker.Ó

TRASK SAID that area seniors want a local geriatric unit. A geriatric unit would be more attuned to the needs of the elderly and appreciate that they cannot be treated the same as the younger patients. They have suggested turning a part of the old hospital on Cornwall Street into a unit designed specifically for the care of the elderly. They are asking for more respite day-care centers as well. Some say that there are not enough centers in which those that need extra care can go.

The respite centers in operation are nearly full to capacity, accepting around 26 patients a day.

The seniors also believe that there is a need for more emergency-care centers. More emergency centers would be more convenient so seniors wouldnÕt have to endure long ambulance rides.

DUE TO THE RECENT changes in medical coverage, many doctors are no longer accepting new Medicare patients. This is a major concern for the new residents. Bryan F. Dearing, the chief executive officer for Broadlands Medical Regional Center, said, Loudoun County is one of the fastest growing counties in the nation. It is estimated that by 2008, there will be more than 8,000 seniors in Loudoun County, however many of them will be unable to find a primary-care physician. Many citizens are concerned that the increase in premiums will keep doctors from taking anyone new. The Area Agency on Aging can provide assistance when it comes to finding a doctor.

Seniors need to be familiar with their health and ask questions of their doctors. They need to be aware of complications and the steps they can take to prevent them. With the technology today, seniors have access to hundreds of resources. The Internet can provide some very reliable information. For those who donÕt know where to start, the AARP web site contains loads of links and information on all conditions.

THE PRESENTATION was followed by comments from the staff of Hospital Corporation of America. The seniors voiced concern that a new hospital will put the other out of business. Dearing has assured them that all of the hospitals will be used. The new hospital is to be placed in western Loudoun County, where there is no hospital presently. Dearing has also promised that once Broadlands Regional Medical Center is finished, they will begin constructing more emergency care and urgent care centers around the county. The HCA plans to break ground for Broadlands next fall, and hopes to have the hospital open by fall of 2008. ÒWe will do everything we can to ensure the safety and comfort of our patients,Ó Dearing said.