Acute care hospitals more likely to use feeding tubes on dementia patients from nursing homes, study finds

Share this article:

Advanced dementia patients are more likely to receive feeding tubes if they are taken from nursing homes to acute care hospitals, according to a new report. This occurs despite mounting evidence that using feeding tubes on these patients is not beneficial.

Nursing homes have an incentive to transfer advanced dementia patients on Medicaid to acute care hospitals because Medicare will pay for their care, according to the researchers from Brown University. When this transfer happens, the patients can become stressed, leading hospital staff to prescribe medications and insert feeding tubes, the report suggests. It is more likely that larger, for-profit hospitals will resort to feeding tube use, the researchers found while analyzing a sample of Medicare claims for such patients between 2000 and 2007. On average, there were 7.9 feeding tube insertions per 100 hospitalizations over the period of the study.

A recent study from the Royal College of Physicians found that feeding tube use at the end of life doesn't improve the quality of life or reduce complications. (McKnight's, 1/7/10). Better aligning reimbursement structures to keep advanced dementia patients in less restrictive, more comprehensive care settings may help prevent the need for feeding tubes, the researchers in the latest report suggest. Their report appears in the Feb. 10 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association.


Share this article:

More in News

'Minor' issues at the nursing home can cause disastrous care transitions, expert warns

'Minor' issues at the nursing home can cause ...

What may appear to be minor administrative problems in a nursing home - a fax machine locked away at night or no one designated to copy paperwork - can cause ...

Long-term care facilities approach 80% worker flu vaccination rate after handing power ...

Fourteen long-term care facilities in Pennsylvania dramatically increased their staff flu vaccination rate by having a regional pharmacy take over the process, according to a report issued Thursday by the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research (AHQR).

RACs were 'most improved' healthcare auditors for getting back money in 2013, ...

Medicare Recovery Audit Contractors dramatically stepped up their overpayment recoveries last year, returning nearly $487 million more to the government than they did in 2012, according to a new report from a federal watchdog agency.