Older adults with dementia are more frequent visitors to emergency departments, returning at higher rates and incurring greater costs than older adults without dementia, according to a new study from the Regenstrief Institute and the Indiana University Center for Aging Research. The study is one of the first to explore long-term patterns of healthcare use and mortality rates of elders with cognitive impairment who visit the emergency department.
Older adults with dementia are also more likely to be admitted to the hospital (not a trivial event for this age group) and have a higher death rate following an emergency department visit than those without dementia, according to the study of 32 697 individuals aged 65 and older with and without dementia who sought emergency care over an 11-year period at Eskenazi Health, a large, urban, safety-net healthcare system.
Between one-third and half of older adults with dementia made an emergency department visit in any given year. Five years after their first emergency department visit, only 46% of those with dementia were alive while 76% of older adults without dementia who visited an emergency department had survived.
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