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Keywords:

  • dementia;
  • medical psychiatry;
  • old age psychiatry;
  • physical complication;
  • psychogeriatrics

Abstract

Background:  In the present study, we investigated the physical complications of elderly patients with senile dementia in the Department of Psychogeriatrics, Imaise Branch, Ichinomiya City Hospital.

Methods:  Physical complications that occurred in our ward in the 12 months from April 2007 to March 2008 were recorded. Our ward has 50 beds and, over the 12 months, the average occupation rate was approximately 90%. We subdivided physical complications into two categories: (i) serious emergencies occurring in the ward with a possible high risk of mortality within a few days (e.g. pneumonia and upper airway obstruction); and (ii) life-threatening complications arising in the ward that required diagnosis and treatment by specialists from other medical departments (e.g. bone fracture and cancer).

Results:  Serious emergencies with a high risk of mortality occurred 56 times. Six patients died. Life-threatening complications requiring diagnosis and treatment by specialists from other departments occurred 44 times. Both categories of physical complications in occurred at a high rate, with various types of diseases recorded.

Conclusions:  The present study confirms the high frequency of physical complications that require treatment in facilities for patients with senile dementia. It is necessary to diagnose and treat these various physical complications and to cooperate with specialists from other medical departments.