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Open Access Research article

Predictors of health decline in older adults with pneumonia: findings from the Community Acquired Pneumonia Impact Study

Eduardo Fernandez1, Paul Krueger12* and Mark Loeb134

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

2 Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

3 Departments of Pathology and Molecular Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

4 Michael DeGroote Institute for Infectious Diseases, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

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BMC Geriatrics 2010, 10:1  doi:10.1186/1471-2318-10-1

Published: 4 January 2010



The purpose of this study was to identify predictors of health decline among older adults with clinically diagnosed community acquired pneumonia (CAP). It was hypothesized that older adults with CAP who had lower levels of social support would be more likely to report a decline in health.


A telephone survey was used to collect detailed information from older adults about their experiences with CAP. A broader determinants of health framework was used to guide data collection. This was a community wide study with participants being recruited from all radiology clinics in one Ontario community.


The most important predictors of a health decline included: two symptoms (no energy; diaphoresis), two lifestyle variables (being very active; allowing people to smoke in their home), one quality of life variable (little difficulty in doing usual daily activities) and one social support variable (having siblings).


A multiplicity of factors was found to be associated with a decline in health among older adults with clinically diagnosed CAP. These findings may be useful to physicians, family caregivers and others for screening older adults and providing interventions to help ensure positive health outcomes.