Functional decline in hospitalized older adults: can nursing make a difference?

Geriatr Nurs. 2012 Jul-Aug;33(4):272-9. doi: 10.1016/j.gerinurse.2012.01.008. Epub 2012 Mar 7.


Function-focused care (FFC) is an approach to care in which nurses help patients engage in activities of daily living (ADL) and physical activity, with the goal of preventing avoidable functional decline. This prospective, observational study, conducted with hospitalized older adults (N = 93) examined: 1) the demographic and clinical characteristics of patients who were provided FFC activity, and 2) the relationship between change in physical activity and FFC activities. Patients who received FFC were more likely: to be younger (P = .028); had one or more falls during the hospitalization (P = .048); had demonstrated better functional performance at admission (P = .004) and better physical capability, measured by the Tinetti gait and balance scale (P = .004). FFC was associated with less decrement in ADL function, admission to discharge, while considering patient characteristics (t = 7.6; P < .008). Results suggest that hospitalized older persons can benefit from FFC.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control*
  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment
  • Geriatric Nursing*
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Postural Balance / physiology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology