Hospitalization for pneumonia in older adults is associated with subsequent functional and cognitive impairment, according to results of joint research from the University of Michigan Health System and University of Washington School of Medicine.

After being treated for pneumonia, patients are more than twice as likely to develop new cognitive impairments, some of which are so severe they lead to disability and nursing home admissions among older adults.

These patients are also at nearly double the risk for developing substantial depressive symptoms. This was true even in those hospitalized only once in a nine-year period and in those who did not require critical care.

As such, “pneumonia prevention and interventions are crucial given the costly and detrimental consequences for patients,” said lead author Dimitry S. Davydow, MD, MPH, assistant professor of psychiatry at UW.