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J Am Geriatr Soc. 2011 Feb;59(2):193-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2010.03239.x. Epub 2011 Feb 2.

Functional recovery of elderly patients hospitalized in geriatric and general medicine units. The PROgetto DImissioni in GEriatria Study.

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  • 1Unit of Geriatrics, Azienda Ospedaliera S. Giovanni-Addolorata, Rome, Italy.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To investigate the characteristics of patients who regain function during hospitalization and the differences in terms of functional outcomes between patients admitted to geriatric and general medicine units.

DESIGN:

Multicenter, prospective cohort study.

SETTING:

Acute care geriatric and medical wards of five Italian hospitals.

PARTICIPANTS:

One thousand forty-eight elderly patients hospitalized for acute medical diseases.

MEASUREMENTS:

Functional status 2 weeks before hospital admission (baseline), at admission, and at discharge, as measured using the Barthel Index (BI).

RESULTS:

Geriatric patients were older (P<.001) and had lower preadmission functional levels (P<.001) than medical patients. Between baseline and discharge, 43.2% of geriatric and 18.9% of medical patients declined in physical function. In the subpopulation of 464 patients who had declined before hospitalization (between baseline and admission), 59% improved during hospitalization (45% of geriatric and 75% of medical patients), whereas only approximately 1% declined further. High baseline function (odds ratio (OR)=1.03, 95% confidence interval (CI)=1.02-1.04, per point of BI) and greater functional decline before hospitalization (OR 0.95, 95% CI 0.94-0.97, per % point of BI decline) were significant predictors of in-hospital functional improvement; type of hospital ward and age were not.

CONCLUSION:

Although geriatric patients have overall worse functional outcomes, in-hospital functional recovery may be frequent even in geriatric units, particularly in patients with greater preadmission functional loss and high baseline level of function.

© 2011, Copyright the Authors. Journal compilation © 2011, The American Geriatrics Society.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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