Reducing Preventable Hospital ED Visits for Persons with Dementia/Alzheimer’s Disease

From the Desk Of Randy Nelson

Good morning friends of Delmar Nursing and Rehabilitation!

Our Admissions Director Dawn Harrison and I are on a committee at PRMC hospital that is examining best practices for hospitals to reduce ED visits for people with cognitive impairments.

One study worth noting was conducted by Health and Human Services. The study examined ED visits by persons with Alzheimer’s and compared their finding with some other studies. Here’s a snapshot of the findings:

Individuals with cognitive impairment are significantly more likely than those without cognitive impairment to be hospitalized and to have ED visits annually, both overall and for potentially avoidable conditions. In contrast, among nursing home residents, results suggest there is no significant difference in hospitalization by cognitive impairment status, either overall or potentially avoidable.

High rates of hospitalization and ED use among community-based people with cognitive impairments, both overall and for potentially avoidable conditions, may be attributable to multiple factors, such as deficiencies in primary care and challenges in providing adequate ambulatory care for people with cognitive impairments in community settings. Furthermore, few programs are specifically designed to reduce hospitalizations among community-based people with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. As a result, when the medical conditions of community-based individuals with cognitive impairment change, family members and other caregivers may have few options other than immediately sending the patients to the hospital.

In comparison, most nursing homes are equipped to provide medical and nursing care for many conditions that would be difficult to manage in community settings. Notably, in one study the risk of hospitalization for nursing home residents with dementia was lower in facilities with a specialized dementia care unit or a high prevalence of dementia residents (Gruneir et al. 2007).

The DOH published a comprehensive report on this, which can be read here.

If you have a loved one who could benefit from a secured and dedicated Alzheimer’s Memory Care unit, call us. We can help. Contact Randy Nelson or Dawn Harrison at: 302-846-3077


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