Emergency department and hospital admissions among people with dementia living at home or in nursing homes: results of the European RightTimePlaceCare project on their frequency, associated factors and costs

F. Javier Afonso-Argiles, Gabriele Meyer*, Astrid Stephan, Merce Comas, Ansgar Wuebker, Helena Leino-Kilpi, Connie Lethin, Kai Saks, Maria Soto-Martin, Caroline Sutcliffe, Hilde Verbeek, Adelaida Zabalegui, Anna Renom-Guiteras, RightTimePlaceCare Consortium

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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BackgroundEvidence is lacking on the differences between hospitalisation of people with dementia living in nursing homes and those living in the community. The objectives of this study were: 1) to describe the frequency of hospital admission among people with dementia in eight European countries living in nursing homes or in the community, 2) to examine the factors associated with hospitalisation in each setting, and 3) to evaluate the costs associated with it.MethodsThe present study is a secondary data analysis of the RightTimePlaceCare European project. A cross-sectional survey was conducted with data collected from people with dementia living at home or who had been admitted to a nursing home in the last 3 months, as well as from their caregivers. Data on hospital admissions at 3 months, cognitive and functional status, neuropsychiatric symptoms, comorbidity, polypharmacy, caregiver burden, nutritional status, and falls were assessed using validated instruments. Multivariate regression models were used to investigate the factors associated with hospital admission for each setting. Costs were estimated by multiplying quantities of resources used with the unit cost of each resource and inflated to the year 2019.ResultsThe study sample comprised 1700 people with dementia living in the community and nursing homes. Within 3 months, 13.8 and 18.5% of people living in nursing homes and home care, respectively, experienced >= 1 hospital admission. In the nursing home setting, only polypharmacy was associated with a higher chance of hospital admission, while in the home care setting, unintentional weight loss, polypharmacy, falls, and more severe caregiver burden were associated with hospital admission. Overall, the estimated average costs per person with dementia/year among participants living in a nursing home were lower than those receiving home care.ConclusionAdmission to hospital is frequent among people with dementia, especially among those living in the community, and seems to impose a remarkable economic burden. The identification and establishment of an individualised care plan for those people with dementia with polypharmacy in nursing homes, and those with involuntary weight loss, accidental falls, polypharmacy and higher caregiver burden in the home care setting, might help preventing unnecessary hospital admissions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number453
Number of pages13
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 5 Nov 2020


  • Aged
  • CARE
  • Dementia
  • Geriatric syndrome
  • Home care
  • Hospitalisation
  • Nursing home

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