Hospital stay ups suicide risk in elderly

A study in the May edition of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society indicates that suicide in persons age 80 and older is more prevalent among those who have been hospitalized than in those who have not.

A review of data on nearly 1.8 million people age 52 and older revealed that about two-thirds of the oldest subjects who committed suicide had been hospitalized for an illness in the previous two years. This is the first study to examine this type of association between hospitalization and suicide in older adults.

According to investigators, “a substantial part of the greater suicide rate in the oldest old than in the middle-aged can be attributed to the increased prevalence of medical hospitalization.” Further data show that increased frequency of illness with age could explain part of this suicide risk, especially in women.

Researchers conclude that hospitalization may be a factor in suicidal tendencies in older people. Thus, medical healthcare staff would play an important role in helping to identify those at risk.

From Journal of the American Geriatrics Society

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