Background: Hospitalization represents a stressful and potentially hazardous event for older persons. We evaluated the value of the Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB) in predicting rates of functional decline, rehospitalization, and death in older acutely ill patients in the year after discharge from the hospital.
Methods: Prospective cohort study of 87 patients aged 65 years and older who were able to walk and with a Mini-Mental State Examination score ≥ 18 and admitted to the hospital with a clinical diagnosis of congestive heart failure, pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or minor stroke. Patients were evaluated with the SPPB at hospital admission, were reevaluated the day of hospital discharge, and 1 month later. Subsequently, they were followed every 3 months by telephone interviews to ascertain functional decline, new hospitalizations, and vital status.
Results: After adjustment for potential confounders, including self-report activity of daily living and comorbidity, the SPPB score at discharge was inversely correlated with the rate of decline in activity of daily living performance over the follow-up (p < .05). In a multivariable discrete-time survival analysis, patients with poor SPPB scores at hospital discharge (0-4) had a greater risk of rehospitalization or death (odds ratio: 5.38, 95% confidence interval: 1.82-15.9) compared with those with better SPPB scores (8-12). Patients with early decline in SPPB score after discharge also had steeper increase in activity of daily living difficulty and higher risk of rehospitalization or death over the next year.
Conclusions: In older acutely ill patients who have been hospitalized, the SPPB provides important prognostic information. Lower extremity performance-based functional assessment might identify older patients at high risk of poor outcomes after hospital discharge.