Background: Although Low muscle strength is an important predictor of functional decline in older people, however information on its impact on clinical and service outcomes in acute care settings is still lacking. The aim of this study is to measure the impact of low muscle strength on clinical and service outcomes in older adults during both acute illness and recovery. Methods: Randomly selected 432 hospitalised older patients had their clinical characteristics and nutritional status assessed within 72 h of admission, at 6 weeks and at 6 months. Low muscle strength-hand grip was defined using the European Working Group criteria. Health outcome measures including nutritional status, length of hospital stay, disability, discharge destination, readmission and mortality were also measured. Results: Among the 432 patients recruited, 308 (79%) had low muscle strength at baseline. Corresponding figures at 6 weeks and at 6 months were 140 (73%) and 158 (75%). Patients with poor muscle strength were significantly older, increasingly disabled, malnourished and stayed longer in hospital compared with those with normal muscle strength. A significantly higher number of patients with normal muscle strength discharged home independently compared with those with poor muscle strength (p < 0.05). One-year death rate was lower in patients with normal muscle strength 5(6%), compared with those with poor muscle strength 52(15%), however, results were not statistically significant after adjusting for other poor prognostic indicators [adjusted hazard ratio 0.74 (95% CI: 0.14-3.87), p = 0.722]. Conclusion: Poor muscle strength in older people is associated with poor clinical service outcomes during both acute illness and recovery.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geriatrics and Gerontology