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Memory Problems Grow After Hospitalization

Memory Problems Grow After HospitalizationAs one grows older, sophisticated medical attention in the form of surgery or some other hospital-based intervention is often necessary. However, although we may enter the hospital to be “fixed up,” a new study suggests we may leave the hospital with memory and cognitive problems.

“Our study is timely as the United States population continues to rapidly age and researchers try to identify factors that could reduce memory and thinking problems in the elderly,” said study author Robert S. Wilson, PhD.

“Understanding a possible link to something as common as hospital stays is extremely important.”

The study involved 1,870 people over the age of 65 who lived in Chicago and were interviewed every three years for up to 12 years to test their memory and thinking skills. Of those, 1,335 people, or 71 percent, were hospitalized at least once during the study.

On average, elderly people’s scores on tests of memory and thinking skills decline slightly as they age.

In the study, researchers found that people’s overall scores declined twice as fast after a first hospital stay, compared either to their previous rate before the hospital stay or to people who were not admitted to the hospital.

On specific 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. The results stayed the same even after considering factors such as severe illness, longer hospital stay and older age.

“Further research may help to develop strategies to prevent medical problems in older people that lead to hospital stays. It could also lead to changes in hospital inpatient and discharge policies,” said Wilson.

The study is found in the online issue of Neurology.

Source: American Academy of Neurology

Memory Problems Grow After Hospitalization

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Memory Problems Grow After Hospitalization. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 24, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2012/03/23/memory-problems-grow-after-hospitalization/36437.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.