There are vast opportunities for improving outpatient care for seniors with dementia, according to new research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Researchers discovered that individuals with dementia had a significantly higher rate of hospital admissions for all causes compared with those without the cognitive disease. In addition, the study's authors found that they had more admissions for conditions that are "ambulatory care-sensitive." In these cases, home care or other proactive treatments could have prevented hospitalizations.
Identifying the opportunities for proactive, preventative care that could limit hospitalizations is important for the healthcare system as well as the patient, according to Dr. Elizabeth A. Phelan, one of the study's authors who works as an associate professor of gerontology and geriatric medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine.
"Among older persons without dementia, hospitalization for serious illness is associated with subsequent cognitive decline," Phelan wrote in the study. "Identifying conditions that precipitate hospitalization of elderly individuals with dementia could focus clinical priorities on secondary and tertiary prevention in the outpatient setting and improve health care for this vulnerable and increasing population."