Cognition and Incarceration: Cognitive Impairment and Its Associated Outcomes in Older Adults in Jail.
- Author(s): Ahalt, C
- Stijacic-Cenzer, I
- Miller, BL
- Rosen, HJ
- Barnes, DE
- Williams, BA
- et al.
Published Web Locationhttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30232805
To determine prevalence of, and outcomes associated with, a positive screen for cognitive impairment in older adults in jail.Combined data from cross-sectional (n=185 participants) and longitudinal (n=125 participants) studies.Urban county jail.Individuals in jail aged 55 and older (N = 310; mean age 59, range 55-80). Inclusion of individuals aged 55 and older is justified because the criminal justice system defines "geriatric prisoners" as those aged 55 and older.Baseline and follow-up assessments of health, psychosocial factors, and cognitive status (using the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA)); 6-month acute care use and repeat arrest assessed in those followed longitudinally.Participants were of low socioeconomic status (85% annual income < $15,000) and predominantly nonwhite (75%). Many (70%) scored less than 25 on the MoCA; those with a low MoCA score were more likely to be nonwhite (81% vs 62%, p<.001) and report fair or poor health (54% vs 41%, p=.04). Over 6 months, a MoCA score of less than 25 was associated with multiple emergency department visits (32% vs 13%, p=.02), hospitalization (35% vs 16%, p=.03), and repeat arrests (45% vs 21%, p=.01).Cognitive impairment is prevalent in older adults in jail and is associated with adverse health and criminal justice outcomes. A geriatric approach to jail-based and transitional health care should be developed to assess and address cognitive impairment. Additional research is needed to better assess cognitive impairment and its consequences in this population.
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