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Patient Outcomes After Delirium Screening and Incident Alzheimer’s Disease or Related Dementias in Skilled Nursing Facilities

Abstract

Background

The extent to which a positive delirium screening and new diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias (ADRD) increases the risk for re-hospitalization, long-term nursing home placement, and death remains unknown.

Objective

To compare long-term outcomes among newly admitted skilled nursing facility (SNF) patients with delirium, incident ADRD, and both conditions.

Design, Setting, and Participants

A retrospective cohort study of Medicare beneficiaries who entered a SNF from hospital with a minimum 14-day stay (n = 100,832) from 2015 to 2016.

Main Measures

Return to home, hospital readmission, admission to a long-term care facility, or death.

Key Results

Patients with delirium were as likely to be discharged home as patients diagnosed with ADRD (HR: 0.63, 95% CI: 0.59, 0.67; HR: 0.65, 95% CI: 0.64, 0.67). Patients with both delirium and ADRD were less likely to be discharged home (HR: 0.49, 95% CI: 0.47, 0.52) and showed increased risk of death (HR: 1.30, 95% CI: 1.17, 1.45). Patients with ADRD, regardless of delirium screening status, had increased risk for long-term nursing home care transfer (HR: 1.66, 95% CI: 1.63, 1.70; HR: 1.76, 95% CI: 1.69, 1.82). Patients with delirium and no ADRD showed increased risk of transfer to long-term nursing home care (HR: 1.25, 95% CI: 1.18, 1.33). The rate of deaths was higher among patients who screened positive for delirium without ADRD compared to the no delirium and no ADRD groups (HR: 2.35, 95% CI: 2.11, 2.61).

Conclusion

A positive delirium screening increased risk of death and transfer to long-term care in the first 100 days after admission regardless of incident ADRD diagnosis. Patients with delirium and/or ADRD also are less likely to be discharged home. Our study builds on the evidence base that delirium is important to address in older adults as it is associated with negative outcomes.

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Correspondence to Quynh T. Vo MPH.

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Vo, Q.T., Koethe, B., Holmes, S. et al. Patient Outcomes After Delirium Screening and Incident Alzheimer’s Disease or Related Dementias in Skilled Nursing Facilities. J GEN INTERN MED (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11606-022-07760-6

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KEY WORDS

  • delirium
  • skilled nursing
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • dementia
  • Medicare