The objective of the present prospective observational study is to evaluate the effect of depressive symptoms on 1-year mortality in a population of elderly patients discharged from a rehabilitation unit after orthopaedic surgery of the lower limbs. A total of 222 elderly inpatients were included, and stratified according to 12-months survival. 14 (6.3%) of the patients who were eligible for this study died during the 12-months period after discharge. As expected, patients who died were significantly older, lower cognitive performance, more depressive symptoms, poorer nutritional status and higher comorbidity in comparison to those who survived. Furthermore, they were generally more functionally dependent on admission to the Department, had worse functional recovery and were more disable at discharge, although a longer length of stay comparing to survived patients. In the adjusted logistic regression model, after adjustment for possible confounders and covariates, the presence of severe depressive symptoms significantly predicted a four-fold risk of death at 12 months. The only other factor associated poor 12-months survival was comorbidity, that predicted a 6-fold risk of death. In conclusions this study suggests that severe depressive symptoms on admission predicts 1-year mortality in elderly patients discharged from a post-acute care unit after orthopaedic rehabilitation.