Study: People with dementia have more preventable hospital admissions

Lisa Wurth

January 11, 2012

Overeating may cause increased chance of developing mild cognitive impairmentA new study conducted by researchers at University of Washington and Group Health Research Institute looked into the possibility that dementia increasing hospitalizations, especially those admissions in which the hospital could have been avoided based on the care the senior received.

“Among older persons without dementia, hospitalization for serious illness is associated with subsequent cognitive decline,” said study author Dr. Elizabeth Phelan. “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.”

The researchers found that the three main causes for ambulatory care-sensitive conditions were bacterial pneumonia, congestive heart failure and urinary tract infection. These made up two thirds of all potentially preventable admissions, and those who had dementia saw an even higher spike.

The authors concluded that there has to be better strategies for providing primary care to those with these diseases. Caregivers who cannot move in with their loved one may want to purchase them a medical alert, which can contact emergency services or the caregiver if the senior were injured.

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