Nursing home dementia patients enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans had less burdensome care towards the end of their lives than residents with an accountable care organization, new study results show. 

Published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, findings revealed that residents enrolled in ACOs or traditional Medicare were more likely to be hospitalized in the last 30 days of their life when compared to Medicare Advantage enrollees. 

Specifically, data showed that 20.5% of Medicare Advantage residents ended up in the hospital during the final days, while 27.9% of traditional Medicare enrollees and 28.1% using ACOs were hospitalized in their final days. 

The study, which was conducted by Oregon Health and Science University researchers, also found that dementia patients using Medicare Advantage were less likely to die in the hospital than those in ACOs. They also had a lower likelihood of being put on a ventilator. 

The study used data from more than 370,000 dementia patients who had a nursing home stay between 91 and 180 days prior to their death. 

Researchers said that the findings indicate “policy changes are needed for ACOs” since they operate under incentives to reduce burdensome and costly care at the end of life. 

Full findings can be found here.