Paper Title: The principal causes of hospitalization amongst the elderly over a five year period (2002-2006) in a tertiary health facility in Southern Nigeria.
Authors: Amadi E, Asikimabo-Ofori S, Bellgam H.I, Ngeri B, Sekibo I.
BACKGROUND: Worldwide the population of the elderly is escalating hence their health need is also increasing but in a number of regions including Nigeria, little or no attention is given to the needs of the elderly. AIM: The study was done to identify the principal causes of hospitalization amongst the elderly population and the outcome of management. METHODS: It is a retrospective study case series review of 1,046 elderly patients admitted in adult wards of the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital. RESULTS: The elderly accounted for 8.95% of the total admissions over the five year period. The principal causes of admissions were cerebrovascular disease(CVD), congestive cardiac failure (CCF), diabetes mellitus(DM) and its complications, hypertension with complications and cataracts. The male sex had a slight preponderance and disorders such as CVD, CCF, DM with its complications and malignancy were chief causes of mortality. CONCLUSION: Physicians and care givers should be more alert to health needs of the older population. There is need for prompt diagnosis, medical care and rehabilitation to avoid worse outcomes in the elderly including preventable deaths. RECOMMENDATION: Research in management of common health problems of the elderly, establishing a geriatric department as well as nursing homes well equipped to carter for their needs and promote active aging.