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Vision and hearing impairments and their associations with falling and loss of instrumental activities in daily living in acute hospitalized older persons in five Nordic hospitals
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2008 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences, ISSN 0283-9318, E-ISSN 1471-6712, Vol. 23, no 4, 635-643 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: Many older people believe sensory problems are inevitably, a part of growing old, and avoid assessment and help. Such problems are often also overlooked by health professionals. The aim of this study was to find the prevalence of hearing and vision impairment and their associations with loss of instrumental activities in daily living (IADL) and risk of falling in patients aged 75 years or older, admitted to a medical ward in an acute hospital in each of the five Nordic countries. Method: The Minimum Data Set for Acute Care was used for data collection in 770 patients. Premorbid data, admission data and history of falls over 3 months were obtained on admission by interview and observation. Hearing impairment was present if the patient required a quiet setting to be able to hear normal speech. Vision impairment was defined as unable to read regular print in a newspaper. Results: Bivariate and logistic regression analyses were performed. Forty-eight per cent of the patients had a hearing impairment, 32.3% had vision impairment and 20.1% had both. Hearing impairment was associated with falling but not in the logistic regression model. Hearing and vision impairment were associated with loss of IADL but only combined impairment was independently. Conclusion: Hearing and vision impairments were frequent among older patients in the medical wards. Falling was associated with hearing loss and IADL loss with hearing, vision and combined impairments. Sensory loss was also associated with fear of falling. It is recommended routinely to screen sensory functions in older patients in a medical setting. Intervention studies are needed to determine whether improvements in hearing and vision can prevent falls and further loss of function in this patient population.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 23, no 4, 635-643 p.
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-29938DOI: 10.1111/j.1471-6712.2008.00654.xPubMedID: 19068040OAI: diva2:278617
Available from: 2009-11-27 Created: 2009-11-27 Last updated: 2010-08-31

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Bucht, GöstaJonsén, Elisabeth
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Geriatric MedicineDepartment of Nursing
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