Restoring functional independence in elderly people with disabilities is one of the main purposes of a geriatric rehabilitation unit. However, the rehabilitation period may also represent a useful circumstance to identify predictors of long-term health outcomes. The aim of this study was to evaluate a broad spectrum of characteristics in geriatric patients admitted to a rehabilitation unit in order to identify possible predictors of long-term survival.
This cross-sectional and prospective study was carried out in an Evaluation and Rehabilitation unit in Northern Italy. 243 persons aged 65 or older were enrolled over a period of 12 months (2007–8) and followed for 2 years. Possible predictors of survival were identified among a large spectrum of demographic, clinical (Charlson Index, lab data), nutritional (Mini-Nutritional Short-Form, bio-impedance analysis), and respiratory (spirometry) features. Logistic regression models were used to evaluate the association between patients' characteristics and survival.
189 (86.3%) participants were alive after 2 years of follow-up. Younger age, better functional status at discharge, a lower Charlson Index score, higher hemoglobin and albumin values at discharge, lower basal fasting glucose, creatinine, TNF-α levels, and extra-cellular water, as well as higher cholesterol, vital capacity (VC), and inspiratory capacity were significantly associated with survival. In the multivariate model, higher VC (OR=6.2; 95%CI=1.6–24.6) and albumin (OR=3.7; 95%CI=1.2–11.8) were associated with survival, whereas the Charlson Index and male gender showed an inverse correlation (OR=0.77; 95%CI=0.60–0.99 and OR=0.23; 95%CI=0.10–0.95, respectively).
VC was identified as one of the best predictors of survival along with higher albumin and lower Charlson Index score within 2 years of inpatient rehabilitation among older adults.
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Published online: April 04, 2012
Accepted: March 6, 2012
Received in revised form: March 5, 2012
Received: February 13, 2012
☆The study was carried out in the Geriatric Evaluation and Rehabilitation Unit, Richiedei Foundation, Gussago (Brescia), Italy
© 2012 European Federation of Internal Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.