PLoS One. 2023 Mar 8;18(3):e0281158. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0281158. eCollection 2023.
INTRODUCTION: People living with dementia (PwD) admitted in emergency to an acute hospital may be at higher risk of inappropriate care and poorer outcomes including longer hospitalisations and higher risk of emergency re-admission or death. Since 2009 numerous national and local initiatives in England have sought to improve hospital care for PwD. We compared outcomes of emergency admissions for cohorts of patients aged 65+ with and without dementia at three points in time.
METHODS: We analysed emergency admissions (EAs) from the Hospital Episodes Statistics datasets for England 2010/11, 2012/13 and 2016/17. Dementia upon admission was based on a diagnosis in the patient’s hospital records within the last five years. Outcomes were length of hospital stays (LoS), long stays (> = 15 days), emergency re-admissions (ERAs) and death in hospital or within 30 days post-discharge. A wide range of covariates were taken into account, including patient demographics, pre-existing health and reasons for admission. Hierarchical multivariable regression analysis, applied separately for males and females, estimated group differences adjusted for covariates.
RESULTS: We included 178 acute hospitals and 5,580,106 EAs, of which 356,992 (13.9%) were male PwD and 561,349 (18.6%) female PwD. Uncontrolled differences in outcomes between the patient groups were substantial but were considerably reduced after control for covariates. Covariate-adjusted differences in LoS were similar at all time-points and in 2016/17 were 17% (95%CI 15%-18%) and 12% (10%-14%) longer for male and female PwD respectively compared to patients without dementia. Adjusted excess risk of an ERA for PwD reduced over time to 17% (15%-18%) for males and 17% (16%-19%) for females, but principally due to increased ERA rates amongst patients without dementia. Adjusted overall mortality was 30% to 40% higher for PwD of both sexes throughout the time-period; however, adjusted in-hospital rates of mortality differed only slightly between the patient groups, whereas PwD had around double the risk of dying within 30 days of being discharged.
CONCLUSION: Over the six-year period, covariate-adjusted hospital LoS, ERA rates and in-hospital mortality rates for PwD were only slightly elevated compared to similar patients without dementia and remaining differences potentially reflect uncontrolled confounding. PwD however, were around twice as likely to die shortly after discharge, the reasons for which require further investigation. Despite being widely used for service evaluation, LoS, ERA and mortality may lack sensitivity to changes in hospital care and support to PwD.
PMID:36888666 | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0281158