Cognitive impairment, depression and delirium are problems of high prevalence in older patients. The geriatric convalescence unit (GCU) is a hospitalization facility offering an interdisciplinary geriatric intervention program that may be more appropriate for these patients. This study intended to analyze the functional improvement (FI) in older patients with cognitive impairment, depression and/or delirium admitted to a GCU. A group of 107 patients received specific nurse care, habitually performed in GCU and they also were included in a rehabilitation program. Cognitive impairment, depression and delirium were diagnosed according to standardized protocols. The analyzed variables were: age, functional status (Barthel index) before admission (BBA), at admission (BA) and at discharge (BD), diagnostic categories, cognitive function (mini mental state examination: MMSE) and post-discharge destination. The corrected Heinemann index (CHI) was used to evaluate FI obtained during GCU-stay, where CHI = 1 00x(BD BA)/(BBA-BA), and the efficiency index (El) was used to analyze the relationship between FI and the length of stay in the GCU where El = (BD-BA)/(days in GCU). According to CHI, patients were divided in three groups. Group I: CHI = 0 or negative (patients who lost functional capacity during hospitalization, those who died or were transferred to hospital owing to acute deterioration. Group II: CHI < 35 % (moderate FI). Group III: CHI ≥ 35 % (high FI). Mean age was 77.6 ± 9.1 years, the diagnostic categories were: fractures/orthopedics 49 (45.7 %), neurological 27 (25.2 %), pulmonary/cardiologic 6 (5.6 %) and other cases 25 (23.3 %). Mean MMSE and BA scores were 16.9 ± 9.4 and 29.6 ± 18.9, respectively. Post-discharge destinations were: 63 patients (58.8 %) returned home, 28 (26.1 %) were definitively institutionalized, 11 (10.2 %) died and finally 5 (4.6 %) were transferred to acute care hospital. In-Group I, there were 35 patients (32.7 %) with a mean value of the El = 0.12 ± 1.1; in Group II, 13 (12.1 %) and 0.26 ± 0.38; in Group III, 59 (55.1 %) and 0.94 ± 0.97, respectively. In spite of the presence of cognitive impairment, depression and/or delirium, a high proportion of patients (67.2 %) obtained a significant improvement in their functional capacity.
- Barthel index
- Cognitive impairment
- Geriatric convalescence unit (GCU)
- Intermediate care
- Rehabilitation of elderly