Dementia patients do badly in hospitals and are at greater risk of dying

Patients with dementia often have longer hospital stays and worse treatment outcomes than people without the condition, says a new study.

fitness Updated: Aug 02, 2017 10:37 IST
Asian News International, Washington DC
People who are admitted to hospital with confusion are at an increased risk of dying than those without confusion.(Shutterstock)

In a new study, hospital patients with dementia and other causes of confusion have longer stays and worse treatment outcomes than people without the condition. The research is the first large population-based study to prove that people with confusion caused by dementia or delirium, have inferior treatment outcomes, when compared with the rest of the population. Earlier studies have shown that low-dose marijuana and interacting with patients can help in dementia cases.

Lead researcher, Professor Emma Reynish, chair in Dementia Studies at the University of Stirling, said, “People with confusion — or cognitive spectrum disorders — make up over one-third of the population over 65 who are admitted as an emergency to hospital, and half of patients over the age of 85 years.”

Reynish added that, “People who are admitted to hospital with confusion seem to do badly, and are at an increased risk of dying, increased risk of re-admission, and a hospital stay nearly two weeks longer than those without confusion. It is unclear whether this is as a result of the care that they are given or the disease process itself, or a combination of both. People with confusion include: those with dementia; those with delirium — a sudden change in someone’s cognitive state; those with delirium in addition to dementia; and people with undiagnosed dementia. Delirium is most common, at 24.6%, followed by known dementia, at 17.3%. Whatever the cause of their confusion, they all appear to do equally badly.”

The study found patients with cognitive spectrum disorder (CSD) — delirium or dementia — stayed in hospital for an average of 25 days on average — more than double the length of stay for those without CST, who remained for 11.8 days. Patients with CSD were also more likely to have died within a year of admission —with a 40% mortality rate, compared with a 26% rate in the rest of the hospital population.

The research, carried out in partnership with experts from the University of Dundee and NHS Fife, examined hospital outcomes in more than 10,000 patients aged 65 or older, with an emergency medical admission. The study was published in the BMC Medicine journal.

Follow @htlifeandstyle for more

First Published: Aug 02, 2017 10:36 IST