A prospective study of the impact of psychiatric comorbidity on length of hospital stays of elderly medical-surgical inpatients

George Fulop, James J. Strain, Marianne C. Fahs, James Schmeidler, Stephen Snyder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations

Abstract

To determine the difference in length of hospital stay for geriatric medical-surgical inpatients with or without psychiatric comorbidity, the authors prospectively interviewed 467 admissions by using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-III-R and the Mini-Mental State Exam. At admission, 208 (44.5%) inpatients had a current psychiatric comorbidity, 51(10.9%) had an anxiety disorder, 88 (18.8%) had a depressive disorder, and 126 (27%) had cognitive impairment. The patients with cognitive impairment had a significantly prolonged hospital stay compared with those without cognitive impairment (14.6 vs. 10.6 days). No difference existed in length of stay for the patients with and without anxiety disorders (11.6 vs. 11.6 days) or depressive disorders (11.0 vs. 11.8 days). In view of the limited resources available for screening elderly medical-surgical inpatients for psychiatric comorbidity, this study suggests the utility of identifying cognitive impairment and targeting it for interventions to reduce the clinical burden and to decrease hospital stays.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-280
Number of pages8
JournalPsychosomatics
Volume39
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1998

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