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Friends Grant Lights the Way for Seniors Going Home After Hospitalization

Falls are one of the primary reasons older individuals are readmitted to the hospital, but with a grant from Friends of UW Health, the UW Health Transitional Care Team can give a package of nightlights to patients who are being discharged to help keep them safe at home.

It’s hard to imagine that a simple thing like a night light makes such a big difference! But Heather Boehme, Nurse Practitioner, shared a story about one of her patients, a 90 year old man who was living in a very old house with small hallways, poor lighting and wrinkled carpet.

“His family was very concerned about him getting up at night to go to the bathroom and tripping over his oxygen tubing. I gave them a pack of nightlights and helped find good locations to plug them in his bedroom, bathroom, and along his hallway. They were thrilled! His son said, ‘I can’t believe you guys can provide these types of things!’ He felt that it was something they hadn’t even thought of and would greatly increase his dad’s safety at night.”

Seniors often experience a significant functional decline while in the hospital and tend to have higher rates of readmission due to related complications and falls. Six out of ten falls happen at home and could be prevented by making simple changes to living areas such as improving lighting.

In the experiences of the UW Health Transitional Care team members, patients will often not purchase small recommended items, such as these night lights, because money is simply too tight. However, if provided to the patient directly, they are often extremely grateful and adherent to recommended use.

“I so appreciate the generosity of the Friends of UW Health,” says Heather. “These seem like such small things to us and easy to buy, but I know firsthand that it is not on the priority list of someone on a very fixed income.”