Objective: To evaluate the relation between change in depressive symptoms and in-hospital physical rehabilitation in elderly women. Design: Longitudinal study. Setting: Hospital facility (geriatric evaluation and rehabilitation unit). Patients: One hundred twenty-three elderly inpatient women (mean age: 78.4 ± 6.9 years, range 60 to 93) with good cognitive status (Mini Mental State Examination: 23.1 ± 5.1) consecutively admitted over a 7-month period. Intervention: Physical therapy tailored to individual needs (five sessions a week of 30 to 45 minutes each). Main Outcomes Measures: On admission: cognition (MMSE), depressive symptoms (Geriatric Depression Scale [GDS]), functional status (basic and instrumental activities of daily living [BADL, IADL], Tinetti scale), and somatic health. On discharge: depressive symptoms and gait and balance performances (Tinetti scale). Results: Seventy-five patients (61%) did not show changes on Tinetti scale over the hospitalization period and 48 (39%) had a change of 3 or more points. Nonresponders had no change of GDS over the hospitalization period for all levels of physical disability on admission, whereas responders had relevant improvement of depressive symptoms when markedly disabled on admission, and progressively smaller improvements of depressive symptoms with increasing function on admission. Conclusions: The study provides evidence that mood status changes synchronically with disability.
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