Background Of elderly patients (> 70 years) admitted to a general hospital 35 % suffer from loss of self-care abilities compared to the level before admission. Risk of loss of self-care ability increases with age up to 65% after the age of 90. In addition, for many of these patients the duration of hospitalisation is relatively long. Objective It is important to identify in an early stage frail-elderly patients who are at risk of a relatively long hospital stay. We conducted a study of the prevalence at intake (1st of 2nd admission day) often clinically relevant, patient-bound risk factors for a long hospital stay among 158 patients (> 60 years), acute and planned admitted to Vlietland Hospital. In addition, the prognostic value of the dichotomous risk factors for length of hospital stay was estimated as indicator of treatment complications. The ten clinically relevant risk factors were home care, history of falling, medication (> 4), weight loss, cognitive level and functioning, selfcare, psychiatric symptoms, health status and quality of life. Results There was a high prevalence of risk factors; 47.5% of the elderly patients had four or more risk factors at intake. Home care and global cognitive deterioration were significant predictors of longer length of hospital stay. Furthermore, acute admission, weight loss, psychiatric symptoms and health status seemed important. The explained variance of the prognostic model was relatively small. Conclusion The findings in this explorative-observational study showed a high prevalence of clinically relevant, patient-bound risk factors in elderly people in a general hospital. Some risk-factors were of prognostic interest for long hospital stay, although the explained variance was relatively small. This indicates that a more comprehensive study should be designed and conducted to include other patient-bound risk factors like co-morbidity, caregiver issues and social environment. Moreover, non-patient-bound factors should be addressed like intrinsic and logistic factors within the hospital, and the quality of recuperation programmes. Understanding of these factors contributes to timely identification of elderly patients, who are at high risk of a long hospital stay. Future policy is to perform specific treatment programmes for elderly patients identified as being patients at risk. Multidisciplinary person-oriented interventions and case management focussed on risk factors and functional recovery will be provided parallel and after hospital treatment period. Comprehensive scientific research on the cost-effectiveness of such a programme has started at the end of 2009 in Vlietland Hospital, Schiedam.

Elderly, Long hospital stay, Prevalence, Prognostics, Riskfactors
Tijdschrift voor Gerontologie en Geriatrie
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Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Bakker, T.J.E.M, Duivenvoorden, H.J, Lee, J.V.D, Krulder, J.W.M, Driesen, J.J.M, & Ribbe, M. (2010). Prevalence and prognostic importance of riskfactors for long hospital stay within elderly patients admitted to a hospital; a clinical-empirical study. Tijdschrift voor Gerontologie en Geriatrie, 41(4), 177–186. Retrieved from