The association of cognitive impairment as screened by the Mini-Cog with long term post-hospitalization outcomes

Author Department

Geriatric Medicine; Healthcare Quality; Medicine

Document Type

Article, Peer-reviewed

Publication Date




Prior studies have suggested that patients with cognitive impairment are at increased risk for adverse post-hospitalization outcomes. We aimed to determine if cognitive status assessed by the Mini-Cog, a quick bedside screening test, is associated with long-term outcomes.


In this secondary analysis of data from a prospective cohort study, 668 patients >65 years of age admitted to a tertiary care academic hospital over a two-year period were screened for cognitive impairment with the Mini-Cog within 24 h of admission. We performed multivariable regression adjusting for demographics, comorbidities, principal diagnoses and functional status to determine association between cognitive impairment and discharge to post-acute care, 90-day readmission and one-year mortality.


Overall 35% screened positive for cognitive impairment. Those with impairment were older (median age 83 versus 78), less likely to be admitted from home and had lower functional independence and self-reported performance scores (p < 0.001 for all). Patients with cognitive impairment were more likely to be discharged to post-acute care facilities (54% versus 39%, p < 0.001). 90-day readmission rate of patients with and without cognitive impairment was 35% versus 27%; one-year survival 77% versus 84% and median length-of-stay was 4 days for both groups. Differences in readmission and mortality were not statistically significant after adjusting for covariates.


Cognitive impairment as screened for by the Mini-Cog was not associated with readmission, length-of-stay, or 1-year mortality but was associated with discharge to post-acute care. Other tools such as frailty assessment may be more useful in predicting these outcomes in hospitalized older adults.