Nursing homes transferring advanced dementia residents to hospitals for questionable reasons, study suggests

Share this article:
Chances of peaceful death are three times higher for dementia residents with an advance directive, s
Chances of peaceful death are three times higher for dementia residents with an advance directive, s
The rate of questionable transfers of end-stage dementia patients from nursing homes to hospitals has raised red flags, according to researchers.

Long-term care facilities often move advanced dementia patients to hospitals when problems with swallowing, pneumonia or infections arise. But after analyzing Medicare records of nearly 475,000 patients, researchers, led by Brown University's Joan Teno, M.D., found 19% were transferred for questionable reasons. Investigators also observed a wide variation in the rate of transfers from state to state. Although the data show no evidence of wrongdoing, the investigators suspect money and reimbursements could be playing a role.

Teno says that such transfers can be burdensome for the patients and hasten the depletion of Medicare-reimbursed care. While Medicaid pays $175 per day for care, in one example, Medicare pays three times that when a resident is transferred back to a nursing home after a hospitalization lasting three days or more, the Associated Press reported.

“These transitions reflect the inefficiency of our health care system,” said Teno in a statement. “Similar outcomes could be achieved by keeping these patients in the nursing home setting.”

The study was published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Share this article:

More in News

Long-term care continues to lead in deal volume and value: PwC report

Long-term care continues to lead in deal volume ...

Long-term care bucked healthcare industry trends with strong merger and acquisition activity in the second quarter of 2014, according to newly released data from professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Empowering nurse practitioners could reduce hospitalizations from SNFs, study finds

Granting more authority to nurse practitioners is associated with reduced hospitalization of skilled nursing facility residents, according to recently published findings.

Pioneer ACO drops out of program, despite reductions in skilled nursing utilization

A California healthcare system has become the latest dropout from the Pioneer Accountable Care Organization program, despite reducing skilled nursing facility utilization and improving its readmission rates. Sharp HealthCare announced its decision in a quarterly financial statement released Tuesday.