Illnesses and injuries leading to hospitalization or restricted activity are key sources of disability for independent older persons, regardless of physical frailty, Yale researchers report in the November 3 issue of JAMA.
"The risk of developing disability within a month of hospitalization was elevated more than 60-fold, while the risk of developing disability within a month of restricted activity was elevated nearly six-fold," said principal investigator Thomas M. Gill, M.D., associate professor of medicine/geriatrics at the Yale University School of Medicine. "Falls and fall-related injuries conferred the highest risk of disability."
The inability of older persons to perform essential activities of daily living (ADL), such as bathing, dressing, walking across a room, and transferring from a chair without assistance, is common, potentially deadly and costly. Gill said preventing the development of disability in ADLs is therefore an important goal in older adults, but relatively little is known about the disabling process. He and his team conducted a prospective, longitudinal study on the relationship between intervening events (hospitalization and restricted activity) and the development of disability. They also determined whether this relationship is modified by the presence of physical frailty.
Karen N. Peart | EurekAlert!
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