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Thorax. 1981 August; 36(8): 585–589.
PMCID: PMC471635

Follow-up study of disability among elderly patients discharged from hospital with exacerbations of chronic bronchitis.


Chronic bronchitis is a common reason for admitting an old person to hospital. Government statistics measure the impact of admission only in terms of mortality. A follow-up study of disability among the elderly admitted to hospital wih an exacerbation of chronic bronchitis is described. One month after discharge about 30% of patients were unable to walk as far on the flat or climb as many steps as they did before admission and 90% were unable to do all previous household chores or social activities. After a further two months, although the proportion of patients unable to do all previous household chores or social activities had decreased significantly the proportion with restricted ambulation or ability to climb stairs had not decreased. The proportion of patients admitting to anxiety or depression and being dissatisfied with their progress also remained high. We conclude that there is a need for graduated rehabilitation programmes, which have been shown to increase the walking distance of elderly bronchitics, to be extended to cover all aspects of disability and for home rehabilitation to become an integral part of the care of all elderly bronchitics discharged from hospital.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Bennett AE, Garrad J, Halil T. Chronic disease and disability in the community: a prevalence study. Br Med J. 1970 Sep 26;3(5725):762–764. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Garrad J, Bennett AE. A validated interview schedule for use in population surveys of chronic disease and disability. Br J Prev Soc Med. 1971 May;25(2):97–104. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Hyman MD. Disability and patients' perceptions of preferential treatment: some preliminary findings. J Chronic Dis. 1971 Aug;24(5):329–342. [PubMed]
  • Sinclair DJ, Ingram CG. Controlled trial of supervised exercise training in chronic bronchitis. Br Med J. 1980 Feb 23;280(6213):519–521. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Nielsen M, Blenkner M, Bloom M, Downs T, Beggs H. Older persons after hospitalization: a controlled study of home aide service. Am J Public Health. 1972 Aug;62(8):1094–1101. [PubMed]

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