Hospital-associated deconditioning: Not only physical, but also cognitive

International journal of geriatric psychiatry

Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2022 Feb 2;37(3):10.1002/gps.5687. doi: 10.1002/gps.5687. Online ahead of print.


INTRODUCTION: Hospital-associated deconditioning (HAD) or post-hospital syndrome is well recognized as reduced functional performance after an acute hospitalization. Recommendations for the management of HAD are still lacking, partly due to a poor understanding of the underlying processes. We aimed to review existing data on risk factors, pathophysiology, measurement tools, and potential interventions.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We conducted a systematic review from bibliographical databases in English, Spanish and French with keywords such as 'post-hospitalization syndrome' or 'deconditioning'. We selected studies that included people aged 60 years or older. Three researchers independently selected articles and assessed their quality.

RESULTS: From 4421 articles initially retrieved, we included 94 studies. Most were related to risk factors, trajectories and measures, and focused on the physical aspects of deconditioning. Risk factors for HAD included age, nutritional status, mobility, and pre-admission functional status, but also cognitive impairment and depression. Regarding interventions, almost all studies were devoted to physical rehabilitation and environmental modifications. Only one study focused on cognitive stimulation.

DISCUSSION: In the last decade, studies on HAD have mostly focused on the physical domain. However, neurological changes may also play a role in the pathophysiology of HAD. Beyond physical interventions, cognitive rehabilitation and neurological interventions should also be evaluated to improve deconditioning prevention and treatment in the hospital setting.

PMID:35142397 | PMC:PMC9303382 | DOI:10.1002/gps.5687


Yaohua Chen
Arianna Almirall-Sánchez
David Mockler
Emily Adrion
Clara Domínguez-Vivero
Román Romero-Ortuño