Health care costs for people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) increase a year before the diagnosis is even made.
Researchers at the University of Eastern Finland, using data from the Finnish Medication Use and Alzheimer's Disease Study, Medalz, involving over 70,000 AD patients found that most of the health care costs (78-84%) for these patients comes from hospital care.
The costs of drug therapy were analyzed as overall costs, and the costs of hospital days were calculated according to the Finnish health care system's unit costs, which also include the patient's payment contribution.
The difference in health care costs between AD and non-AD patients were highest six months after diagnosis, with AD patients having, on average $5436 higher costs per person, annually. And although the difference evened out after six months, two years after diagnosis, AD patients health care costs stabilized at twice that of non-AD patients, the researchers reported in the Journal of Public Health.
Five years before diagnosis, Alzheimer’s patients had, on average, 1.4 more hospitals days per year than non-AD patients. Two years after diagnosis, that figur jumped to 14.2 more hospital days.
Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disease that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, and eventually even the ability to carry out the simplest tasks, according to the National Institute on Aging. In most people with Alzheimer’s, symptoms first…
The health care costs of patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) start to increase already one year before the diagnosis, shows a new study from the University of Eastern Finland.
The differences in the health care costs between AD patients and non-AD patients were the greatest during six months following the diagnosis, with AD patients having 5,088 euros higher health care costs per person-year. After the first six months, the differences evened out. Two years after the diagnosis, the health care costs of AD patients stabilized at a level two times higher than that of non-AD patients.
The majority of the health care costs of AD patients, i.e. 78-84%, were caused by hospital care and only a fraction by drug therapy. Anti-dementia drugs initiated after the diagnosis explained the majority of the drug costs