When Seniors Neglect Themselves

 Elder self-neglect is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. The objective of a study recently published in the journal Gerontology was to examine the prospective relationship between reported elder self-neglect and the rate of 30-day hospital readmission in a community population. The researchers conducted a prospective population-based study of community-dwelling older adults who participated in the Chicago Health and Aging Project. Of the 7,219 participants in the Chicago Health and Aging Project, a subset of 1,228 participants was reported to the social services agency for suspected elder self-neglect. The primary predictor was elder self-neglect reported to the social services agency. The outcome of interest was the annual rate of 30-day hospital readmission calculated from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid System hospitalization data from 1993 to 2009. Poisson regression models were used to assess these relationships. Results showed that the average annual rate of 30-day hospital readmission for those without elder self-neglect was 0.2 (SD 0.7) and for those with reported elder self-neglect 0.9 (SD 2.8). After adjusting for sociodemographic and socioeconomic characteristics, medical comorbidities, cognitive function, physical function, and psychosocial well-being, elders who self-neglect had a significantly higher rate of 30-day hospital readmission (rate ratio 2.50, 95% confidence interval 2.02–3.10). Greater self-neglect severity [mild: parameter estimate (PE) 1.09, standard error (SE) 0.19, p < 0.001; moderate: PE 0.84, SE 0.13, p < 0.001; severe: PE 1.24, SE 0.40, p = 0.002] was associated with increased annual rates of 30-day hospital readmission after considering the same confounders. Interaction term analyses suggest that the significant relationship between self-neglect and 30-day hospital readmission was not moderated by medical conditions, cognitive impairment, physical disability, or psychosocial well-being. The researchers concluded that reported elder self-neglect was associated with increased rates of 30- day hospital readmission in this community population. Greater self-neglect severity was associated with a greater increase in the rate of 30-day hospital readmission.

For the abstract


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