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Scand J Public Health. 2013 Jun;41(4):421-8. doi: 10.1177/1403494813480278. Epub 2013 Mar 8.

Perceived health among the medically hospitalized elderly: a one-year follow-up study.

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Department of Public Health and General Practice, Faculty of Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway.



To examine perceived health of elderly medically hospitalized patients 1 year after hospitalization, and to explore factors associated with the perceived health at follow-up.


A one-year follow-up study included 363 (175 men) elderly previously medical inpatients with age range 65-98 (mean 80.2, SD 7.5) years. Information was collected at baseline and follow-up, where perceived health--the dependent variable--was measured by one self-report item. The independent variables were assessed by the Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale (HAD), the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), Lawton and Brody's scales for physical self-maintenance and performance of the instrumental activities of daily living (PSMS and I-ADL).


The proportion of elderly people assessing their health as good at baseline was 43.3% (n = 157) and at 12 months 41.3% (n = 150). Of those with poor health at baseline, 34% (n = 70) experienced good health at 12 months. In the analysis controlling for physical health, perceived health, physical and instrumental functioning, and depression at baseline, an increase in the level of physical and instrumental functioning and reduced symptom level of depression were independently associated with good perceived health at 12 months.


Improvement in performing the activities of daily living and a reduction of depressive symptoms are important factors for the perception of health one year after hospitalization. The rehabilitation of medically ill elderly patients could be the means of achieving this improvement.


Activities of daily living; anxiety; depression; disability; elderly; follow-up; hospitalized; perceived health

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