Physical vulnerability of older adults in hospital discharge

<p></p><p>ABSTRACT Vulnerability is the individual’s capacity to suffer damage in response to a stimulus. We identified physical vulnerability in older people in hospital discharge; the association of this condition with sociodemographic factors was verified, and we compared vulnerable with not-vulnerable individuals, as well as those referred or not to physical therapy during hospitalization. This was an exploratory study, and the sample consisted of 122 hospitalized older adults. Data were collected using a socio-clinical demographic questionnaire, the Mini-mental State Examination, the Geriatric Depression Scale and the Vulnerable Elders Survey-13. Spearman’s correlation test was used to identify the correlation between vulnerability and socio-clinical demographic data, and the Mann-Whitney test was used to compare vulnerable and not-vulnerable older adults, and those accompanied or not by physical therapy. The significance level was 5%. Vulnerability has been identified in 75.4% of older people. A significant correlation was found between vulnerability and age (r=0.52 p=0.01), length of hospital stay (r=0.25 p=0.01) and number of comorbidities (r=0.25 p=0.01), and a negative association between vulnerability and educational level (r=-0.20 p=0.02). Statistical differences were found between vulnerable and not-vulnerable elders, for age (p=0.01), comorbidities (p=0.01), length of stay (p=0.01), MMSE (p=0.01) and GDS (p=0.01); and among older adults accompanied or not by physical therapy, for vulnerability (p=0.04) and length of hospital stay (p=0.01). Most older adults were physically vulnerable in hospital discharge, being them older, presenting more comorbidities, longer hospitalization, cognitive decline and depressive symptoms. Those treated by physical therapy showed greater vulnerability and longer hospital stay.</p><p></p>