Elderly have more mental problems after they were hospitalized.
A new study has found that older adults who are hospitalized were associated with increased memory and thinking problems.
Researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago tested more than 1,800 people ages 65 and older who lived in the Chicago area and who were interviewed every three years for up to 12 years to test their memory and thinking skills.
Of those interviewed, 1,335 people, or 71 percent, were hospitalized at least once during the course of the study. The study participants were residents of a geographically defined area that included approximately equal numbers of blacks and whites. The correlation of hospitalization with increased cognitive decline was similar in black and white persons.
The researchers found that overall cognitive function declined more than twice as fast after a first hospital stay, compared either to the previous rate before the hospital stay or to people who were not admitted to the hospital.
The study also found that on specific cognitive tests, the rate of decline after the first hospital stay was more than three times faster on a long-term memory test and 1.5 times faster on a complex attention test.
The researchers say their findings may help to develop strategies to prevent medical problems in older people that lead to hospital stays and could also lead to changes in hospital inpatient and discharge policies.
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