While you never know when an emergency will strike and you’ll need to be hospitalized, there’s much evidence to support the goal of minimizing hospitalizations, especially for those who are older. For example, new research out of the University of Michigan has shown that 1/4 of seniors admitted to post-acute care or rehab facilities following a hospitalization had evidence of drug-resistant “superbugs” on their hands, which could lead to serious infection, especially in vulnerable seniors. While this research underscores the need for hand washing in patients as well as caregivers, it also highlights the risk of infection to seniors during hospital stays. And additional new research out of Rush University confirms the heightened risk of cognitive decline in older individuals due to emergency or urgent hospital admissions. Such hospitalizations put seniors at greater risk for long term problems with cognitive function than was previously realized. The bottom line? While hospitals certainly play an important role in our health care system, seniors and their caregivers also need to be aware of the risks that can accompany a hospital stay. Find out more about these research studies Here and Here.