Hospitalization, Alzheimer’s and Dementia – Are We Capturing the Numbers?

A recent article entitled, “Do 2 in 5 Hospital Patients Suffer from Dementia?”debates some statistics from the United Kingdom related to hospitalized patients with dementia. The article loosely concluded that anywhere from 25% to 60% of patients may have a diagnosis of some type of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. Wherever the actual number falls – we are looking at large numbers.

But perhaps most important – and just as we find in the United States – patients are hospitalized for reasons not related to dementia, and thus the dementia diagnosis is often not listed at all. And sadly, when the dementia diagnosis is listed as a diagnosis, it is well down on the list below other, more acute or long-term “medical” conditions.

Related to dementia and Alzheimer’s diagnoses, our current systems of medical records in the hospital appear to be lacking. Health care must improve methods of collecting this information in order to better track those with dementia before, during and following hospitalization.

Maintaining accurate data in order to analyze these statistics will better position our health care system to shine a spotlight on the imminent increase of this population and how we can better provide care for those affected by memory loss and other dementias.

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