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13.06.2019 | Original contributions

Comparison of older patient’s self-care abilities in acute geriatric and internal medicine departments

Zeitschrift für Gerontologie und Geriatrie
RN, MScN Manuela Friedli, MD, PhD Philipp Schuetz, RN, MNS Antoinette Conca
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s00391-019-01570-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



There is ongoing controversy whether patients show better functional outcomes when care is provided in acute geriatric (AG) or internal medicine (IM) departments.


This study compared the recovery of acutely ill patients concerning activities of daily living (ADL) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADL).

Material and methods

A total of 274 patients (≥70 years old, 67 in AG, 207 in IM) were included consecutively (AG intervention) or data were obtained (IM comparison) in a Swiss hospital with 2 locations. The ADL/IADL data were collected 14 days before admission (t1, retrospectively), on admission (t2), at discharge (t3), and 30 days after admission (t4). This study consisted of a prospective study with a longitudinal quasi-experimental design.


The AG patients had a significantly higher probability to gain independence in mobility (between t2/t3, P = 0.008), grooming of the lower body (between t2/t3, P = 0.037) and defecation (between t2/t4, P < 0.001). The IM patients were significantly more independent in IADL at t4 (all P < 0.05) except for meal preparation. The odds for nursing home admission in AG with dependency at t1 were significantly lower in every ADL (all P < 0.05) and with shopping in IADL (P = 0.008).


This study shows a positive effect of AG compared to IM in self-care with a lower probability for nursing home admission. There is need for further education and research to improve outcomes in older hospitalized patients.

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