A new study found that people with dementia are more likely to be hospitalized than other older adults. While the reason they go into the hospital was not related to their dementia, just going into the hospital increased the likelihood that within the next year they would wind up in a nursing home or they would die.
The study examined the medical records of 771 Alzheimer’s patients who were living at home and fairly high-functioning. About half wound up in the hospital. Normally each year about 4% of the patients who weren't hospitalized entered a nursing home and 2% died. With the Alzheimer’s patients, 29% wound up going from the hospital to the nursing home and 43% of those with delirium wound up in the nursing home.
Finally, of those who survived the initial hospitalization, 9% died in the next year and 15% of those suffering delirium died.
The researchers are not clear on why this was happening. So…the easy answer is to stay out of the hospital as it can be bad for your health.
(Associated Press, June 20, 2012)