Factors Associated with Step Numbers in Acutely Hospitalized Older Adults: The Hospital-Activities of Daily Living Study

Daisy Kolk, Jesse J. Aarden, Janet L. MacNeil-Vroomen, Lucienne A. Reichardt, Rosanne van Seben, Marike van der Schaaf, Martin van der Esch, Jos W.R. Twisk, Jos A. Bosch, Bianca M. Buurman, Raoul H.H. Engelbert, Hospital-ADL study group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
174 Downloads (Pure)


OBJECTIVES: To determine the number of steps taken by older patients in hospital and 1 week after discharge; to identify factors associated with step numbers after discharge; and to examine the association between functional decline and step numbers after discharge.

DESIGN: Prospective observational cohort study conducted in 2015-2017.

SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: Older adults (≥70 years of age) acutely hospitalized for at least 48 hours at internal, cardiology, or geriatric wards in 6 Dutch hospitals.

METHODS: Steps were counted using the Fitbit Flex accelerometer during hospitalization and 1 week after discharge. Demographic, somatic, physical, and psychosocial factors were assessed during hospitalization. Functional decline was determined 1 month after discharge using the Katz activities of daily living index.

RESULTS: The analytic sample included 188 participants [mean age (standard deviation) 79.1 (6.7)]. One month postdischarge, 33 out of 174 participants (19%) experienced functional decline. The median number of steps was 656 [interquartile range (IQR), 250-1146] at the last day of hospitalization. This increased to 1750 (IQR 675-4114) steps 1 day postdischarge, and to 1997 (IQR 938-4098) steps 7 days postdischarge. Age [β = -57.93; 95% confidence interval (CI) -111.15 to -4.71], physical performance (β = 224.95; 95% CI 117.79-332.11), and steps in hospital (β = 0.76; 95% CI 0.46-1.06) were associated with steps postdischarge. There was a significant association between step numbers after discharge and functional decline 1 month after discharge (β = -1400; 95% CI -2380 to -420; P = .005).

CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: Among acutely hospitalized older adults, step numbers double 1 day postdischarge, indicating that their capacity is underutilized during hospitalization. Physical performance and physical activity during hospitalization are key to increasing the number of steps postdischarge. The number of steps 1 week after discharge is a promising indicator of functional decline 1 month after discharge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)425-432
JournalJournal of the American Medical Directors Association
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'Factors Associated with Step Numbers in Acutely Hospitalized Older Adults: The Hospital-Activities of Daily Living Study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this