Self-Reported Physical Function As a Predictor of Hospitalization in the Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders Study

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2018 Oct;66(10):1927-1933. doi: 10.1111/jgs.15468. Epub 2018 Oct 3.


Objectives: To explore whether baseline scores on the Mobility Assessment Tool-short form (MAT-sf), a brief, animated, computer-based means of assessing mobility that predicts mobility disability, are associated with number of hospitalizations and time to first hospitalization over a median follow-up of 2.7 years.

Design: Post hoc analysis of prospectively gathered data from the Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders (LIFE) Study, a randomized clinical trial of lifestyle interventions to preserve mobility in older adults.

Setting: Eight U.S. academic medical centers.

Participants: Of 1,635 sedentary community-dwelling older adults enrolled in LIFE, 1,574 completed baseline physical function screening including the MAT-sf, with baseline scores ranging from 30.2 (low function) to 69.8 (high function) on a scale from 30 to 80.

Measurements: Number of hospitalizations and time to first hospitalization, adjusted for age, sex, race, living alone, clinical site, baseline comorbidities, number of prescription medications, and cognition.

Results: Of the 1,557 participants with data regarding hospitalization status, 726 (47%) had at least 1 hospitalization; 78% of these had 1 or 2 hospitalizations. For every 10-point lower MAT-sf score, the rate of all hospitalizations was 19% higher in those with lower scores (adjusted rate ratio=1.20, 95% confidence interval (CI)=1.08-1.32, p<.001). Lower baseline MAT-sf scores were also associated with greater risk of first hospitalization (adjusted hazard ratio=1.20, 95% CI=1.09-1.32, p<.01, per 10-point lower MAT-sf score).

Conclusion: Low MAT-sf scores identify older adults at risk of hospitalization; further study is needed to test interventions to reduce hospitalizations in these individuals.

Keywords: hospitalization; mobility; physical function.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Disability Evaluation*
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Independent Living
  • Life Style*
  • Male
  • Mobility Limitation*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sedentary Behavior
  • Self Report
  • Time Factors