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

Bulk of Medicaid to be managed care in two years: Avalere

Bulk of Medicaid to be managed care in ...

More than three-quarters of Medicaid beneficiaries will be enrolled in a managed care plan as of 2016, according to an Avalere Health analysis released Thursday. The numbers reveal that managed ...

Nursing home asked for employee's personal information too often, jury rules

The human resources department of a Maine nursing home did not properly protect a former employee's personal identification information, a jury recently ruled.

Test could confirm sepsis within an hour

Nursing home residents might benefit from a new way of diagnosing and treating sepsis made possible by discoveries out of the University of British Columbia.