Hospitalizations contribute to cognitive decline, study finds

Share this article:
Sheila Lambowitz
Sheila Lambowitz

Seniors who have been hospitalized have a higher risk for experiencing a cognitive decline, a new study finds.

In a study of 1,870 Chicagoans over the age of 65, researchers tested the participants' cognitive functioning and long-term memory following a hospitalization. They found that overall cognitive function declined more than twice as fast after a first hospital stay. What's more, on specific cognitive tests, the rate of decline after the first hospital stay was more than three times faster on a long-term memory test and 1.5 times faster on a complex attention test.

These findings could be critical as hospitals and nursing homes are increasingly being encouraged to work together to prevent hospital readmissions for nursing home residents, Rush University researchers said.

A resident who is moved back to a hospital after being in a skilled nursing facility may also experience disorientation, McKnight's Online Expo speaker Sheila Lambowitz said Thursday. Staff should make sure the family understands what can be done at the SNF instead of moving their loved one back to a hospital.

“A lot more work needs to be done in working with the family and explaining how things work,” Lambowitz said. “They don't really know that there's the possibility of picking up an infection, like MRSA, or the trauma of the transfer can cause confusion. There can be permanent negative effects.”

The National Institutes of Health and the National Institute on Aging supported the study. It was published in the March 21 issue of Neurology.

Share this article:

More in News

Double homicide at Houston nursing home; victims' roommate arrested

Double homicide at Houston nursing home; victims' roommate ...

A double murder occurred late Tuesday night in a Houston nursing home room shared by four men, according to local authorities. Police arrested Guillermo Correa on suspicion of beating two ...

$2 million HIPAA settlement highlights mobile device risks facing healthcare providers

Laptops and other mobile devices containing personal health information have been stolen from long-term care ombudsman programs and other healthcare organizations, including from Concentra Health Services and QCA Health Plan Inc. Now, Concentra and QCA have agreed to legal settlements totaling nearly $2 million, federal ...

Long-term care nurses often 'scramble' to get family members' blessing for palliative ...

Nursing home residents might not transition to full palliative care until they are very near death, at which point nurses and family members act in a state of crisis, suggests recently published research out of Canada.