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Acute illness and hospitalization are important events in the trajectory leading to disability in elderly people. Approximately 30-40% of elderly patients are discharged from hospitals with new disabilities. This rate may increase to 50% in people aged 85 and older. Hospitalization for an acute medical illness is a stressful and potential dangerous event for older persons that often leads to clinical complications, such as functional decline, prolonged length of stay, readmission, falls and mortality. Very old frail patients and those with preadmission functional limitation are at higher risk of complications. A new model of hospital care focused on functional status, including assessment on admission and throughout the hospital stay, promoting physical activity with early ambulation and planning for discharge home, is needed to reduce the incidence of hospitalization- associated disability and to increase the likelihood of going home reducing hospital length of stay.
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