A study out of Tufts University in Boston found that 1 out of 10 hospitalizations for Alzheimer’s patients were avoidable while 1 out of 7 hospitalizations was potentially avoidable. Reasons for hospital admissions included urinary tract infections, hypertension, congestive heart failure exacerbations, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease exacerbations, hyperglycemia, and dehydration. In addition to these conditions that resulted in visits to the hospital, it is known that hospitalizations can increase the risk to patients of acquiring an opportunistic infection that can result in diarrhea or pneumonia. This is especially true for patients with dementia.
And it is also known that when patients with dementia are admitted to the hospital there is a significant risk of worsening cognition that can result in a need for medications to control confusion and sleep dysfunction due to the foreign environment. And these conditions and medications can worsen other medical conditions including worsening memory and cognitive function. It is best for the patient and family if these conditions and hospitalizations can be avoided. Integrated healthcare with close communication between the patient’s providers and between the patient’s caregiver and providers can help avoid these issues.
At Nevada Neurology and Vascular Center, we work closely with every patient’s caregiver and their health care providers to make sure we communicate any concerns that may increase the risk of exacerbations of their health issues.