Hong Kong Med J 2012;18:56-9 | Number 1, February 2012
Rehabilitation in older people: know more, gain more
James KH Luk
Department of Medicine and Geriatrics, Fung Yiu King Hospital, 9 Sandy Bay Road, Pokfulam, Hong Kong
Functional decline is common among older patients during or even prior to hospitalisation, in spite of treatment of acute illnesses. An effective rehabilitation programme is vital to improve the motor and functional states of the older patients. Knowing factors affecting rehabilitation of older persons is important for their effective and efficient rehabilitation. This article, with special reference to local studies, examines age, gender, cognitive function, and serum albumin levels as to how they influence rehabilitation in the elderly. The conclusion is that we should not exclude patients of advanced age from rehabilitation programmes, based on poor cognitive function and low serum albumin levels as they can achieve similar gains in motor and functional outcomes. A nutritional programme to improve the albumin level of older persons could speed up the rehabilitation progress, rendering it more efficient. A gender-specific rehabilitation programme is needed to improve functional outcome in men and motor outcome in women. Moreover, knowing the factors influencing residential care home placement affords an opportunity to reduce reliance on institutionalisation after rehabilitation.
Key words: Activities of daily living; Geriatric assessment; Mobility limitation; Rehabilitation; Self care
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