Is it possible to go into the hospital fine and then come out a completely different person with Alzheimer's? - AgingCare.com

Is it possible to go into the hospital fine and then come out a completely different person with Alzheimer's?

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I agree with the others here in saying that there were probably signs of ALZ or dementia that no one noticed before, or just waved away as "aging"...slight memory loss, tendency to repeat things now and then, etc.

Hospitalization Dementia is a very real thing. My mother had it. Whereas she was only a little forgetful beforehand, during hospitalization, she developed a tendency towards sundowning (erratic behavior only at night, with no memory of it the next day). She would attempt to escape her bed, even with the rails up, she pulled out her IV and waved the tubes at me while giggling, yanked out her catheter and caused bleeding down there. She was *never* like this before the hospitalization. Once out of the hospital, she returned to normal nighttime behavior (for her) within 24 hours - but the advanced level of dementia (increased memory loss, repeating, loss of everyday functions like how to use the bathroom or where to put things) stayed, and only got worse with each hospitalization.
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Yes, hospitalizations cause extreme disorientation with anyone, especially the elderly and especially if they have had a surgery where they were administered anesthesia. Even more so if they have dementia, even early stages. Stepdad had a hip replacement six years ago and after about four months he was back to presurgery brain condition. He had not been diagnosed with dementia and remained sharp until he passed last October.

My mom on the other hand had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's type dementia and uterine cancer. She had the hysterectomy and while there was preexisting memory issues, the surgery accelerated her condition. That was about ten years ago and she is still alive, a shell of herself, barely verbal, in a wheelchair, sleeps most of the time and on hospice now.

The effect is different for everyone. It also depends on their an medical history. Having elective surgeries should be considered very carefully as anesthesia effects on the brain are well documented.
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All of the above situations are possible, and I add infections in the elderly can cause mental degeneration and behavioral changes, especially in elderly women with UTI's.
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Its important to know the difference between dementia and delirium. If the elder already has some (even modest) cognitive decline, the ability to diagnose the delirium can be more complicated. Hospitals are disruptive to an elder's routine, disorienting, and terribly frightening if they are unaware of why they are there. Keep a few familiar comfort items nearby; family photos, glasses & hearing aids, things like that.
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Same thing happened to my mother a few months ago. She is 82 and had signs of minor confusion, especially related to financial affairs, but was living alone (Dad went to Alzheimer's facility about a year prior). Mom needed surgery, and came out of it with severe delirium, to the point that she got up in the middle of the night, ran down the hallway in the hospital, fell and fractured her hip. The delirium subsided, eventually, and she now has no memory of anything that happened in the hospital at all.

My research on the internet shows that post-surgical delirium is definitely a possibility in elderly patients. The condition is often, I have read, reversible. In my mom's case, her new cognitive "baseline" is lower than before and I have put her in assisted living (mild memory care) after the 5-week nursing home rehab for the fractured hip.
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Hospitals can overwhelm elderly very easily. All the noises and constant lights, changing people and environment, it can calls dementia like symptoms including hallucinations. I'd give it about a week for him/her to calm down, and get his/her brains back in focus. If that doesn't help, I'd call his/her PCP.
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I personally have experienced ICU Psychosis. Hallucinations, delusions, extreme sadness. It cleared up 2 days after I was moved out of ICU to a regular room. So I surely do not discount the possibility that the hospital experience caused some psychosis. That should go away in time.

About ALZ -- I heard a lecture at a dementia conference about when ALZ starts. Researchers have much better ways of measuring changes in the brain now and the results are surprising. The pathology appears in the brain long before it causes changes in behavior and cognition. A person with ALZ in the brain can appear totally normal until suddenly symptoms appear (they usually appear very gradually, but it is sudden in that now you don't see it and now you do).

The pathology starts in the brain DECADES before symptoms are present.

This means that hospitalization does not "cause" ALZ. But perhaps something about that particular kind of stress triggers the start of the symptoms showing. (That is just my guessing.)
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I found this in a quick search, and it may help to explain further: http://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/news/20100223/hospital-stays-raise-dementia-risk

It's not quite understood why it happens, but it does - and more often than you might think.
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Just hoping for additional input. Pushing back to top.
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When my mother fell and broke her hip. She discovered the "joys" of getting attention at the hospital and went on a spree of surgeries. Every time she had anesthesia her Alzheimer's got worse noticeably. This lead to more falls and accidents due to bad choices... A self compounding spiral with a rapid decline.
Several pain medications can also cause dramatic personality changes. H
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