Hospitalization can cause short-term memory loss in seniors

Share this article:
The mental disruption that comes with being hospitalized can cause temporary memory loss for up to a month for seniors who are sick, according to new research.

This is imperative for caregivers to realize, said investigators at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. Hospital-induced memory loss could affect how they remember discharge instructions and other critical information, they note.

The researchers studied 200 seniors over the age of 70 who had not been diagnosed with dementia or cognition problems prior to being admitted to the hospital and participating in the study. Upon their date of discharge, investigators administered cognition tests to evaluate the patients' mental status. One-third of participants displayed scores that “were not previously recognized” and on the lower end. One month later scores had improved.

“When the senior is no longer sick enough to be in the hospital, it doesn't mean they're 100 percent ready to be on their own,” said researcher Lee Lindquist, M.D. “It's a critical time and they need extra support and understanding from healthcare professionals and family.”

The study was published online in the Journal of Internal Medicine.
Share this article:

More in News

Hospitals in the Midwest refer patients to the broadest networks of skilled nursing facilities, study finds

Hospitals in the Midwest refer patients to the ...

Midwestern hospitals spread referrals to the greatest variety of skilled nursing facilities and tap their favorite SNFs least often, according to a recently published analysis of nationwide referral patterns.

Bill would affect pay, scheduling for some nursing home housekeeping staff

Nursing homes could face more stringent scheduling requirements for housekeeping workers and might be on the hook to compensate them for last-minute shift changes under a bill proposed in both houses of Congress.

Joint Commission adds memory care accreditation

New memory care accreditation for nursing homes encourages staff to use a flexible, problem-solving approach to care for those with dementia, according to Joint Commission guidelines.