Cognitive impairments commonly occur due to neurological diseases and elderly. Cognitive impairments in many elderly patients is thought to be related only to neurological disease. However, it is necessary to investigate whether this impairment is due to age. Because cognitive impairment may adversely affect the treatment and care needs of elderly patients; therefore, it is important to assess their cognitive functions.
This was a descriptive study conducted to identify cognitive impairment and related factors in patients hospitalized in neurology services. The research sample comprised 113 patients who received inpatient treatment at the neurology services of GRU Training and Research Hospital. Research data were collected between 1 October and 31 December, 2015, using the Demographic Information Form and the Standardised Mini-Mental Test. Data were analysed by Mann-Whitney U test, chi-squared test and multiple linear regression analysis.
Standardised Mini-Mental Test scores were ≤ 24 points in 58.4% of patients. Cognitive impairment was determined to be more prevalent in patients aged ± 65 years than in those aged < 65 years. Cerebrovascular and cardiac diseases were significantly higher in patients aged ± 65 years than in those aged < 65 years. Multiple linear regression analysis found age was the strongest predictor of cognitive impairment (β = 3.67, p = 0.002), followed by educational status (β = 2.94, p = 0.006), and level of care dependency (β = 2.65, p = 0.002).
Patients who are older than 65 years of age, have low level of education and increased level of care dependency can be said to have more cognitive impairments. In accordance with this result, it can be recommended that nurses should evaluate cognitive impairment in patients aged ± 65 years to provide appropriate nursing care to these patients and that trainings on this subject should be included in the patient's discharge plan.