(Snippets from the frontline)
Hospital “code words”
Over the past decade, the business mentality takeover ascribed “code words” to hospitalized elder seniors, herding them out of the hospital into nursing homes or onto hospice. They are: Age, DNR, Palliative Care, and Comfort Care.
To enhance profits and since hospitals are paid a flat Medicare fee, administrators have indoctrinated staff members to focus on these words, particularly if it is a senior patient.
“Age” stigmatizes patients as being too old to treat. Nowadays, age varies widely as some who are 90 have remarkable quality of life behaving like 60 year olds.
“DNR” designation (Do Not Resuscitate) at some hospitals mean minimal or no treatment. In healthcare crisis, it assures families follow their loved ones’s wishes. Just because one is DNR though does not mean do not treat.
“Palliative Care” is now code for hospice, blending further into “Comfort Care.” The public does not have clear definition of these terms, so it is abused and manipulated by hospital administrators and some practitioners. ICU patients are highly susceptible resulting in premature end-of-life care.
Watch out for profiteer “code words”, as it comes at the expense of elder seniors.
Gene Uzawa Dorio, M.D.