Individuals age 65 and older with dementia are hospitalized three times more than their peers. In addition, the average length of stay is longer and inpatient cost is twice as much for this population.
Longer lengths of stay and increased costs for individuals with dementia are often the result of a greater number of adverse events while hospitalized. During their acute care stay, many patients with dementia suffer weight loss, infections, pressure ulcers, falls, untreated pain, agitation, physical restraint – all of which are increasingly frustrating for hospital personnel. These patients often require restraints and costly “sitters,” all of which increase costs to the hospital.
For example, 34% of hospital falls are patients with cognitive impairment. The average cost of a hospital fall and fracture is $10,000 and increases the financial burden for hospitals.
The expense for employees caring for a confused and anxious patient with dementia is costly – mentally, physically and monetarily. Agitated and disruptive behaviors occur in up to 98% of individuals with dementia, and they are strongly associated with staff burden and turnover in all health care environments.
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Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures, 2012; Huey-Ming Tzeng: Inpatient Falls in Acute Care Settings: Influence of Patients’ Mental Status, Journal of Advanced Nursing, August, 2010; Ouslander, J; Berenson, R: Reducing Unnecessary Hospitalizations of Nursing Home Residents, New England Journal of Medicine, September, 2011; Sourial, R., et al: Agitation in Demented Patients in an Acute Care Hospital: Prevalence, Disruptiveness, and Staff Burden, International Psychogeriatrics, 2001.