Emergency Hospitalizations Raise Rates of Cognitive Decline in Older Adults

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A study conducted at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago suggests that urgent and emergency hospitalizations are associated with higher rates of long-term cognitive decline in seniors, compared to planned hospitalizations. Results of the study were published in Neurology, the journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

The study involved annual cognitive assessments, clinical evaluations, and hospitalization data for 777 older adults (average age 81) enrolled in the Rush Memory and Aging Project, 460 of whom were hospitalized at least once during the five-year study period. None of the study participants had been previously diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. According to the researchers, non-planned hospitalizations were associated with more than twice the rate of cognitive decline, while elective hospitalizations didn’t increase the risk of cognitive impairment.

This study expands on earlier research showing that older adults are at higher risk for cognitive and memory problems after being hospitalized. Emergency and urgent hospitalizations may carry the highest risk because of added stress or other factors.

Sourced from: Neurology