European journal of public health vol:16 issue:2 pages:203-208
Objective: To develop a predictive tool that could be used on admission to identify older hospitalized people at risk of functional decline 3 months after discharge. Methods: This was a prospective cohort study that included 625 patients aged 70 years and older ( mean age 80.0 +/- 5.6 years) hospitalized by the way of the emergency room, for at least 48 h, in two academic hospitals. Three months after discharge, 550 patients remained for analysis. On admission, people were assessed for premorbid functional status with the activities of daily living (ADL) scale and instrumental ADL scale. Demographic and medical data, including cognitive function, falls, polypharmacy, comorbidity, continence, mobility and self-rated health, were collected. ADL functioning was re-assessed at discharge and 1 and 3 months later. Functional decline was defined as the loss of at least one point on the ADL scale between the premorbid and 3-month evaluation. Univariate analyses were used to select variables associated with functional decline. A logistic regression model was then constructed to predict functional status 3 months after discharge. Results: Three months after discharge, 165 (31.5%) patients had declined. The predictive tool SHERPA includes five factors: age, impairment in premorbid instrumental ADLs, falls in the year before hospitalization, cognitive impairment ( Abbreviated Mini Mental State below 15/21) and poor self-rated health. Sensitivity and specificity were 67.9% and 70.8%, respectively. Conclusions: Older people are at high risk of functional decline following hospitalization. On admission, a simple instrument can easily identify these patients, even though the performance of this instrument is moderate.