How healthy is community-dwelling elderly population? Results from southern Italy
Tari, Daniele Ugo
Di Giorgio, Annalisa
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PURPOSE To explore the frequency of polypharmacy, functional and cognitive capacity among the elderly in Southern Italy. METHODS Populationbased retrospective cross-sectional study. Information were retrieved from electronic-geriatric-forms matched by record-linkage to outpatient pharmacy-records. The following domains were collected from geriatric forms: BMI, cognitive capacity (SPMSQ), functional status Barthel-index), mobility, living condition. Polypharmacy status was categorized as non-polypharmacy (0-4), polypharmacy (5-9) and excessive-polypharmacy (>10). Prevalence of all variables were stratified by age and polypharmacy group. RESULTS 88,878 old people received a geriatric assessment in the years 2013-2014. Mean age was 74.8 (±7.3) years, 56.6% females. Proportion of elderly in excessive-polypharmacy increased with age (18.9% in 65-75 age-group; 27.9% in >85). Referring to cognitive capacity, the proportion of lucid patients decreased with age (from 94.3% to 58.1%), while confused patient increased with age (from 4.7% to 30.9%). Proportion of subjects with a decline in cognitive status, functional status and mobility increased in polypharmacy and excessive polypharmacy group. CONCLUSION Polypharmacy is common in people aged 65 years and older with difficulties in activities of daily living and impaired cognition. Furthermore, its prevalence raises with increasing age. Preventive strategies such us optimization of drug regimen should be performed routinely to reduce risk of adverse-health-events.