Dementia: caregiver depression tied to 73% more ED visits

  • JAMA Neurol

  • von Kelli Whitlock Burton
  • Clinical Essentials
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Takeaway

  • Emergency department (ED) visits among people with dementia whose caregivers had depression were 73% higher than ED visits by patients with dementia whose caregivers were not depressed.
  • Close to 13% of caregivers reported depression symptoms.

Why this matters

  • Adding caregiver mental health assessment to the treatment regimen for patients with dementia could improve outcomes for both.

Study design

  • Study of 663 patients (age, ≥45 years) diagnosed with dementia and their caregivers was conducted during 2015-2017.
  • Outcomes: Number of ED visits per patient in the subsequent 6 months.
  • Funding: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and others.

Key results

  • Among 663 caregivers (70.4% women; mean age, 64.9 years), 84 (12.7%) had depression at baseline.
  • 29.6% of patients with dementia had at least 1 ED visit over the subsequent 6 months.
  • Mean incidence rate of ED visits was 0.9 per person-year.
  • Patients whose caregiver reported depression (vs no depression) showed a 73% increase in ED visits over 6 months (1.5 vs 0.8 ED visits/person-year; incident rate ratio, 1.73; 95% CI, 1.30-2.30).

Limitations

  • Nonrandomized study design.
  • Self-reported data.

Coauthored with Antara Ghosh, PhD