Functional trajectories associated with hospitalization in older adults

West J Nurs Res. 2007 Mar;29(2):161-77; discussion 178-82. doi: 10.1177/0193945906293809.


For older adults, acute-care hospital stays can result in functional decline that leads to increased risk of hospitalization, nursing home admission, or mortality. This study describes functional trajectories in hospitalized older adults and identifies risk factors associated with those trajectories. Respondents (N = 45) exhibited five of six possible functional trajectory patterns. The largest change in functional status was a decline in activities of daily living (ADL) from baseline at 2 weeks before admission to the time of admission; ADL did not return to baseline during the first 4 days in the hospital. Depression scores were significantly higher in respondents who reported experiencing ADL decline before admission. Respondents whose ADL scores declined during hospitalization (regardless of baseline status) were more likely than others to die within 3 months of discharge. Functional trajectory in hospitalized elderly patients is an important and underappreciated prognostic concept requiring further attention.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Hospitalization*
  • Hospitals, Veterans
  • Humans
  • Iowa
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Risk Factors