acute care of the elderly, frailty, geriatric syndromes, shared risk factors



  1. Chen, Cheryl Chia-Hui
  2. Dai, Yu-Tzu
  3. Yen, Chung-Jen
  4. Huang, Guan-Hua
  5. Wang, Charlotte


Background: Identifying shared common risk factors of geriatric syndromes is clinically useful in designing a unified approach to optimizing geriatric care.


Objectives: The purpose of this study was to identify older Taiwanese inpatients' common shared risk factors among seven distinct geriatric syndromes: malnutrition, depression, cognitive impairment, functional dependence, incontinence, pressure ulcers, and dehydration.


Method: A cross-sectional, hospital-wide survey was conducted to enroll inpatients (N = 455) older than 65 years and admitted to 24 medical and surgical units in a 2,200-bed urban academic medical center in northern Taiwan. Malnutrition was defined as a Mini-Nutritional Assessment score less than 17.5, depression was defined as a Geriatric Depression Scale score more than 10, cognitive impairment was considered a Mini-Mental State Examination score less than 20, and functional dependence was defined as a Barthel Index score less than 50. Incontinence, pressure ulcers, and dehydration were extracted from patients' medical records.


Results: Participants had a mean age of 75.3 years (SD = 6.1 years, range = 65-92 years). The prevalence of geriatric syndromes ranged from 5% (pressure ulcers) to 33% (malnutrition). The selected geriatric syndromes were shown through logistic regression analysis to be predicted by female gender (odds ratio [OR] = 1.57-2.75), functional status (OR = 0.94-0.99), cognitive status (OR = 0.82-0.95), nutritional status (OR = 0.74-0.93), and depressive symptoms (OR = 1.07-1.26), supporting the notion of shared risk factors in geriatric syndromes.


Conclusions: The findings support the theory that common geriatric syndromes have a shared set of risk factors-female gender, depressive symptoms, and functional, cognitive, and nutritional status. Revising care to target these shared risk factors in preventing common geriatric syndromes is theoretically sound.