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J Aging Health. 2009 Aug;21(5):699-712. doi: 10.1177/0898264309338297.

The vote of acute medical inpatients: a prospective study.

Author information

1
APHP, Service de Médecine Interne, Hôpital Louis Mourier, 178 rue des Renouillers, 92700, Colombes, Université Paris 7, France. antoine.bosquet@lmr.aphp.fr

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

There may be ethical issues associated with allowing certain inpatients to vote as some may be cognitively impaired. During the 2007 elections in France, we conducted a prospective observational study on voting among hospitalized patients.

METHOD:

Patients hospitalized in an Internal Medicine and Geriatric Department on election day were included. The primary outcome was the turnout among registered inpatients, and secondary outcomes were Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores and reasons for abstention.

RESULTS:

Of 142 inpatients (mean age 73 years), 84 were eligible to vote, and 22 actually voted (turnout 25.2%). Among the voters, 23% had an MMSE score of less than 12; 58% of abstentions were procedure-related.

DISCUSSION:

In our study, some inpatients did not vote as a result of procedural issues. When patients with severe cognitive impairment vote, there is a potential risk of vote diversion. Voting procedures should be improved to give inpatients easier access to the ballot while protecting them from the risk of fraud.

PMID:
19584412
DOI:
10.1177/0898264309338297
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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