Health Services Research & Development

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Duan-Porter W, Vo TN, Ullman K, Langsetmo L, Strotmeyer ES, Taylor BC, Santanasto AJ, Cawthon PM, Newman AB, Simonsick EM, Waters TM, Ensrud KE. Hospitalization-Associated Change in Gait Speed and Risk of Functional Limitations for Older Adults. The journals of gerontology. Series A, Biological sciences and medical sciences. 2019 Sep 15; 74(10):1657-1663.
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Abstract: BACKGROUND: Hospitalization-associated functional decline is a common problem for older adults, but it is unclear how hospitalizations affect physical performance measures such as gait speed. We sought to determine hospitalization-associated change in gait speed and likelihood of new limitations in mobility and activities of daily living (ADLs). METHODS: We used longitudinal data over 5 years from the Health, Aging and Body Composition Study, a prospective cohort of black and white community-dwelling men and women, aged 70-79 years, who had no limitations in mobility (difficulty walking 1/4 mile or climbing 10 steps) or ADLs (transferring, bathing, dressing, and eating) at baseline. Gait speed, and new self-reported limitations in mobility and ADLs were assessed annually. Selected participants (n = 2,963) had no limitations at the beginning of each 1-year interval. Hospitalizations were self-reported every 6 months and verified with medical record data. Generalized estimating equations were used to examine hospitalization-associated change in gait speed and odds of new limitations over each 1-year interval. Fully adjusted models included demographics, hospitalization within the past year, health conditions, symptoms, body mass index, and health-related behaviors. RESULTS: In fully adjusted models, any hospitalization was associated with decrease in gait speed (-0.04 m/s; 95% confidence interval [CI]: -0.05 to -0.03) and higher odds of new limitations in mobility or ADLs (odds ratio = 1.97, 95% CI: 1.70-2.28), and separately with increased odds of new mobility limitation (odds ratio = 2.22, 95% CI: 1.90-2.60) and new ADL limitations (odds ratio = 1.84, 95% CI: 1.53-2.21). Multiple hospitalizations within a year were associated with gait speed decline (-0.06 m/s; 95% CI: -0.08 to -0.04) and greater odds of new limitations in mobility or ADLs (odds ratio = 2.96, 95% CI: 2.23-3.95). CONCLUSIONS: Functionally independent older adults experienced hospitalization-associated declines in gait speed and new limitations in mobility and ADLs.