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Reducing Functional Decline in Older Adults during Hospitalization: A Best Practice Approach

Hospitalization poses a risk for altered functional status for older adults due to acute illness, decreased mobility, the negative effects of bedrest such as pressure ulcers, pain, dehydration and/or malnutrition, medication side effects, and associated hospital treatment measures such as invasive lines and catheters that limit mobility. Low levels of mobility and bedrest are common occurrences during hospitalization for older adults (Fischer et al., 2011). Of great significance is that deconditioning and functional decline from baseline have been found to occur by day two of hospitalization in older patients (Winkelman, 2009). 

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