PROVIDENCE – A team of Rhode Island-based researchers has found that dementia patients are at high risk for readmission after hospital discharge.
Publishing their results in the Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, lead author Lori Daiello, assistant professor at the Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University, and her co-authors found that patients with a diagnosis of dementia were nearly 20 percent more likely to be readmitted within 30 days than those without dementia.
The researchers analyzed more than 25,000 admissions to Rhode Island hospitals. All of the patients in the study were Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries
“People with dementia are quite a vulnerable group when they enter the hospital,” said Daiello. “We know that dementia can impair these patients’ ability to follow discharge instructions and to report worrisome symptoms. It’s critical to recognize and account for a dementia diagnosis when doing the discharge planning process.”
Dr. Gary Epstein-Lubow, assistant unit chief of geriatrics at Butler Hospital and a co-author, said that family members play a crucial role when people with cognitive impairment are discharged from the hospital.
“People with cognitive impairment need help to accept hospital care and need even more help after the hospital to be sure that the gains achieved inpatient are maintained,” said Epstein-Lubow. “Health care systems can do more of this by improving handoffs to the next clinicians, and equally or more important is the communication with family – because, all too often, it is the family caregiver who has unexpected responsibilities right after the hospital care is complete.”