Depression linked to higher emergency admissions for elderly men

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Depressed elderly men are twice as likely peers who are not depressed to have an emergency hospital admission, according to a study published in the Canadian Medical Association JournalThe authors suggest that depressed patients may not carefully follow treatment plans and that depression may inhibit communication with patients who suffer from acute or chronic illness.

"Even after adjustment for a robust measure of comorbidity ... depression was a strong independent risk factor for hospital admission, longer hospital stays and worse hospital outcomes. This suggests that the association between depression and comorbidity, disability and hospital admission is complex and cannot be attributed solely to age, prevalent clinical morbidity, social support, education or smoking," the authors wrote. 

Researchers studied more than 5,400 men aged 69 years and older in their communities in Perth, Western Australia, to reach their findings.

Of the group, 339 (6.3%) had a score of 7 or greater on the Geriatric Depression Scale, which indicates moderate to severe depression. Forty-five percent of that group had at least one emergency admission to hospital, compared with 23% of the non-depressed men (1,164 of 5,072).

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