Document Type


Publication Date



This article is the author’s final published version in BMC Geriatrics, Volume 22, Issue 1, August 2022, Article number 665.

The published version is available at Copyright © Kumar et al.


Background: Depression is common, costly, and has deleterious effects in older adult surgical patients. Little research exists examining older adult surgical patient outcomes and depression and the potential for nursing factors to affect these outcomes. The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between hospital nursing resources, 30-day mortality; and the impact of depression on this relationship.

Methods: This was a retrospective cohort study employing a national nurse survey, hospital data, and Medicare claims data from 2006-2007. The sample included: 296,561 older adult patients, aged 65-90, who had general, orthopedic, or vascular surgery in acute care general hospitals from 2006-2007, 533 hospitals and 24,837 nurses. Random effects models were used to analyze the association between depression, hospital nursing resources, and mortality.

Results: Every added patient per nurse was associated with a 4% increase in the risk-adjusted odds of mortality in patients with depression (p < 0.05). Among all patients, every 10% increase in the proportion of bachelor's prepared nurses was associated with a 4% decrease in the odds of mortality (p < 0.001) and a one standard deviation increase in the work environment was associated with a 5% decrease in the odds of mortality (p < 0.05).

Conclusions: For older adult patients hospitalized for surgery, the risk of mortality is associated with higher patient to nurse ratio, lower proportion of BSN prepared nurses in the hospital, and worse hospital work environment. Addressing the mental health care needs of older adults in the general care hospital setting is critical to ensuring positive outcomes after surgery. Hospital protocols to lower the risk of surgical mortality in older adults with and without depression could include improving nurse resources.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

PubMed ID




Included in

Nursing Commons