Triscott JAC, Dobbs BM, McKay RM, Babenko O, Triscott E

J Frailty Aging 2013;4:7-12

Publication date: March 1, 2015


The prevalence of anemia in hospitalized seniors has been linked to poor functional outcomes, increased mortality, and longer hospital stays, and has been associated with advancing age, male sex, and cognitive impairment. Despite the potential for complications, anemia often is undiagnosed and/or untreated in seniors.

The objectives of this study was to examine the distribution of anemia diagnosis and treatment in patients in a rehabilitation hospital, and patients’ cognitive and functional outcomes. The Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE) was used to measure cognitive status. Functional impairment was assessed using the Functional Independence Measure (FIM).

The mean age of the sample was 82.20 years, with 68% being female, the mean MMSE and FIM scores were 23.95 (SD = 4.3) and 82.82 (SD = 15.63), respectively. In total, 67% of males and 46% of females were anemic (P < 0.05). The majority of anemias were caused by nutritional deficiencies. The percent of anemic females receiving treatment for anemia was higher (71%) than the percent of anemic males (46%) (P < 0.05). The majority of the patients improved functionally regardless of anemia status.

Results indicated that a substantial number of patients in a geriatric hospital were anemic, with a significant percentage going untreated. The overall improvement in patients’ functional abilities suggests that remedial rehabilitation of frail seniors has an impact on recovery during their hospital stay.

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