Impact of age and co-morbidity on the functioning of patients with sequelae of poliomyelitis: a cross-sectional study
Janneke M. Stolwijk-Swüste, Anita Beelen, Gustaaf J. Lankhorst and Frans Nollet
Objective: To investigate the impact of age and co-morbidity on the functional independence and perceived physical functioning of patients with sequelae of poliomyelitis.
Design: Cross sectional study.
Subjects: A convenience sample of 168 patients with sequelae of poliomyelitis, aged 45–85 years, recruited from 2 university hospitals.
Methods: Outcome measures were Functional Independence Measure (FIMTM) for functional independence, Short Form-36 (SF-36) for physical functioning and general mental health, Cumulative Illness Rating Scale (CIRS) for co-morbidity.
Results: FIMTM scores were significantly lower for the 65–85 year age group than for the 45–54 year age group. No differences in the SF-36 were found between the age groups, except that the SF-36 general mental health sub-scale score was significantly better in the 65–85 year age group than in the 45–54 year age group. The CIRS score increased significantly with age. Linear regression showed that age, gender, polio severity, and 4 co-morbidity scores ("cardiac", "vascular", "endocrine, metabolic"and "muscle, bone, skin") were significantly and inversely associated with functional independence and physical functioning.
Conclusion: The level of functional independence of elderly former poliomyelitis patients is lower than that of younger patients. Specific attention should be paid to co-morbidity and ageing in this increasingly older population of polio survivors, since they negatively affect functional independence and perceived functioning.