Anxiety symptoms during hospitalization of elderly are associated with increased risk of post-discharge falls

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Background: The aim of this study was to test the association between anxiety at the time of hospitalization and falls occurring within one month of discharge, and to offer potential mechanisms for this association. Methods: One-month, prospective cohort study of 556 older adults in two medical centers in Israel. Anxiety and functional decline were assessed during hospitalization and falls were assessed one month post-discharge. Results: A total of 72 (12.9%) participants reported at least one fall during the 30-day post-discharge period. Controlling for demographics, functional decline and pre-morbid functional status, the odds of falls between discharge, and 1-month follow-up were almost twice as high among patients with anxiety symptoms (OR = 1.89, 95% CI: 1.04-3.48) compared with those who screened negative for anxiety. After accounting for in-hospital functional decline, the relationship between anxiety symptoms and falls decreased by 11% (from OR = 2.13 to 1.89), indicating that the relationship between anxiety and falls was partially mediated by functional decline during hospitalization. Conclusions: Anxiety at time of hospitalization is associated with falls 30-days post-discharge, controlling for several well-known confounders. This relationship is partially mediated by functional decline. Identifying patients with anxiety for inclusion in targeted rehabilitation interventions may be an important component of fall prevention strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)951-958
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Psychogeriatrics
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 International Psychogeriatric Association.


  • anxiety symptoms
  • older adults
  • post-discharge fall

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Gerontology


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