Alzheimer’s Dementia and Related Disorders (ADRD) affects more than 5 million people in the United States, with no known treatment to stop or prevent its progression. Associated with these diagnoses are costly health care bills, which are particularly costly for ADRD patients who also suffer from delirium: preventable mental deterioration. The exact annual health care costs associated with delirium in hospitalized elderly patients with MADR had not been examined prior to a study by researchers at Brigham and the Marcus Institute, Hebrew SeniorLife.
The team conducted a health economic analysis of Medicare costs at 30, 90 and 365 days for 311 patients with and without ADRD, some of whom developed delirium during their hospital stay. The team found that the average additional cost per year of care for an ADRD patient with delirium was $34,828 more than ADRD counterparts without delirium; this gap between the price tags of ADRD patients with delirium and those of ADRD patients without delirium has also increased throughout the year. Additionally, the study showed that the increased costs for patients with ADRD delirium occurred later in the 365-day period, while the costs for patients without ADRD delirium remained constant over the 365-day period. over time and the costs of patients without ADRD delirium remained steadily increased over time.
“The cost of delirium and severe delirium in patients with AMD is not initial but rather long-term – such as the costs of care and home support after hospitalization and delirium,” the author said. Principal Tammy Hshieh, MD, MPH, of Brigham’s Division of Aging and the Aging Brain Center, Hebrew SeniorLife. “Because delirium is preventable, patients and their families can argue for non-pharmacological interventions and general vigilance with clinical care during hospitalization to try to prevent the costly downstream cascade.”
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Hshieh, TT, et al. (2022) One-year health insurance costs associated with delirium in hospitalized elderly patients with and without dementia from Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. Alzheimer’s and dementia. doi.org/10.1002/alz.12826.