BACKGROUND: The aim of this research was to study the clinical characteristics and mortality and disability outcomes of patients who present distinct risk profiles for functional decline at admission.
METHODS: Multicenter, prospective cohort study conducted between 2006 and 2009 in three hospitals in The Netherlands in consecutive patients of ≥65 years, acutely admitted and hospitalized for at least 48 hours. Nineteen geriatric conditions were assessed at hospital admission, and mortality and functional decline were assessed until twelve months after admission. Patients were divided into risk categories for functional decline (low, intermediate or high risk) according to the Identification of Seniors at Risk-Hospitalized Patients.
RESULTS: A total of 639 patients were included, with a mean age of 78 years. Overall, 27%, 33% and 40% of the patients were at low, intermediate or high risk, respectively, for functional decline. Low-risk patients had fewer geriatric conditions (mean 2.2 [standard deviation [SD] 1.3]) compared with those at intermediate (mean 3.8 [SD 2.1]) or high risk (mean 5.1 [SD 1.8]) (p<0.001). Twelve months after admission, 39% of the low-risk group had an adverse outcome, compared with 50% in the intermediate risk group and 69% in the high risk group (p<0.001).
CONCLUSION: By using a simple risk assessment instrument at hospital admission, patients at low, intermediate or high risk for functional decline could be identified, with distinct clinical characteristics and outcomes. This approach should be tested in clinical practice and research and might help appropriately tailor patient care.