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Dementia Care Is Widespread In US Nursing Homes; Facilities With The Most Dementia Patients May Offer Better Care.

Mukamel DB, Saliba D, Ladd H, Konetzka RT. Dementia Care Is Widespread In US Nursing Homes; Facilities With The Most Dementia Patients May Offer Better Care. Health affairs (Project Hope). 2023 Jun 1; 42(6):795-803.

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More than three million US nursing home residents were diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias (ADRD) between 2017 and 2019. This number is expected to increase as the population ages and ADRD prevalence increases. People with ADRD require specialized care from trained staff. This study addressed two questions: Are residents with ADRD concentrated in nursing homes where they are the majority? If not, what are the implications for their quality of care and life? We answered the first question by determining the ADRD census for each nursing home in the country during the period 2017-19. Using the Minimum Data Set and Medicare claims, we compared characteristics of nursing homes with high and low ADRD census along several dimensions, including staffing, resident outcomes, and resident characteristics. We found that residents with ADRD were dispersed throughout all nursing homes, with fewer than half residing in nursing homes where residents with ADRD accounted for 60-90 percent of the census. Furthermore, only facilities exceeding 90 percent of residents with ADRD seemed to offer better care. These findings raise concerns about the quality of care and life for the majority of residents with ADRD, suggesting that current National Institutes of Health dementia research initiatives and the Biden administration's policies to improve nursing home care should be coordinated.

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