BACKGROUND: To study the prevalence of eighteen geriatric conditions in older patients at admission, their reporting rate in discharge summaries and the impact of these conditions on mortality and functional decline one year after admission.
METHOD: A prospective multicenter cohort study conducted between 2006 and 2008 in two tertiary university teaching hospitals and one regional teaching hospital in the Netherlands. Patients of 65 years and older, acutely admitted and hospitalized for at least 48 hours, were invited to participate. Eighteen geriatric conditions were assessed at hospital admission, and outcomes (mortality, functional decline) were assessed one year after admission.
RESULTS: 639 patients were included, with a mean age of 78 years. IADL impairment (83%), polypharmacy (61%), mobility difficulty (59%), high levels of primary caregiver burden (53%), and malnutrition (52%) were most prevalent. Except for polypharmacy and cognitive impairment, the reporting rate of the geriatric conditions in discharge summaries was less than 50%. One year after admission, 35% had died and 33% suffered from functional decline. A high Charlson comorbidity index score, presence of malnutrition, high fall risk, presence of delirium and premorbid IADL impairment were associated with mortality and overall poor outcome (mortality or functional decline). Obesity lowered the risk for mortality.
CONCLUSION: Geriatric conditions were highly prevalent and associated with poor health outcomes after admission. Early recognition of these conditions in acutely hospitalized older patients and improving the handover to the general practitioner could lead to better health outcomes and reduce the burden of hospital admission for older patients.