Trajectories of cognitive-affective depressive symptoms in acutely hospitalized older adults: The hospital-ADL study

Lucienne A. Reichardt, Rosanne van Seben, Jesse J. Aarden, Martin van der Esch, Marike van der Schaaf, Raoul H.H. Engelbert, Jos W.R. Twisk, Jos A. Bosch, Bianca M. Buurman

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OBJECTIVE: To identify trajectories of cognitive-affective depressive symptoms among acutely hospitalized older patients and whether trajectories are related to prognostic baseline factors and three-month outcomes such as functional decline, falls, unplanned readmissions, and mortality.

METHODS: Prospective multicenter cohort of acutely hospitalized patients aged ≥ 70. Depressive trajectories were based on Group Based Trajectory Modeling, using the Geriatric Depression Scale-15. Outcomes were functional decline, falls, unplanned readmission, and mortality within three months post-discharge.

RESULTS: The analytic sample included 398 patients (mean age = 79.6 years; SD = 6.6). Three distinct depressive symptoms trajectories were identified: minimal (63.6%), mild persistent (25.4%), and severe persistent (11.0%). Unadjusted results showed that, compared to the minimal symptoms group, the mild and severe persistent groups showed a significantly higher risk of functional decline (mild: OR = 3.9, p < .001; severe: OR = 3.0, p = .04), falls (mild: OR = 2.0, p = .02; severe: OR = 6.0, p < .001), and mortality (mild: OR = 2.2, p = .05; severe: OR = 3.4, p = .009). Patients with mild or severe persistent symptoms were more malnourished, anxious, and functionally limited and had more medical comorbidities at admission.

CONCLUSION: Nearly 40% of the acutely hospitalized older adults exhibited mild to severe levels of cognitive-affective depressive symptoms. In light of the substantially elevated risk of serious complications and the fact that elevated depressive symptoms was not a transient phenomenon identification of these patients is needed. This further emphasizes the need for acute care hospitals, as a point of engagement with older adults, to develop discharge or screening procedures for managing cognitive-affective depressive symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-73
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Research
Publication statusPublished - May 2019


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