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Apathy Tied to Mortality in Nursing Home Patients

Mortality risk also increased for males, older patients

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MONDAY, Aug. 14, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Apathy is associated with mortality in nursing home patients, according to a study published online Aug. 9 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Johanna M.H. Nijsten, from Radboud University in Nijmegen, Netherlands, and colleagues assessed apathy using the 10-item Apathy Evaluation Scale (AES-10) in nursing home patients in 17 somatic and 16 dementia specialty care units.

The researchers observed a higher risk of mortality between two measurements, if apathy was present (hazard ratio [HR], 1.77; P < 0.001). When controlling for depressive symptoms, results remained significant (HR, 1.64; P < 0.001). The effect of apathy on mortality was similar between somatic and dementia specialty care units. Mortality was also predicted by male gender (HR, 1.67; P < 0.001) and older age (HR, 1.06; P < 0.001). A one standard deviation increase in AES-10 score was associated with a 62 percent increase of mortality risk (HR, 1.62; P < 0.001).

"These data suggest that screening and treatment strategies for apathy should be developed for this patient population," the authors write.

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