Introduction Cognitive impairment and depression are among the health conditions that affect the ability of the elders to live independently, leading to their placement at long-stay institutions. This phenomenon has been increasing in Brazil. This study analyzes the prevalence of these health conditions and its associated factors in elders who live at these institutions.
Methods This is a cross-sectional study with elderly residents of long-stay institutions in four Brazilian cities. The study's questionnaire included socio-demographic and health-related variables and the assessment of functioning, cognition and mood with scales widely used in elderly populations. The population profile was characterised and the prevalence of cognitive impairment and depression was estimated. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were performed with Poisson regression.
Results These are preliminary results for 340 elders. The mean age was 75.5 years, most were men, with 0–4 years of schooling and <5 years of institutionalisation. The prevalence of cognitive impairment was 65.8% and of depression 49.1%. Variables associated to cognitive impairment were depression (RP 4.39; 95% CI 1.11 to 7.27) and female gender (RP 2.96; 95% CI 1.28 to 6.84). The referral of very poor/poor health (RP 2.69; 95% CI 1.37 to 5.27), hospitalisation in the last year (RP 1.55; 95% CI 1.04 to 2.33) and presence of cognitive impairment (RP1.42; 95% CI 1.11 to 1.83) were associated to a high probability of depression.
Conclusions The high prevalence of these two conditions in elders living at long-stay institutions in Brazil denotes the importance of health policies aiming to improve the quality of care received by this population group.
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