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Health-Care Use and Cost in Dementia Caregivers: Longitudinal Results from the Predictors Caregiver Study

Zhu, Carolyn W.; Scarmeas, Nikolaos; Ornstein, Katherine; Albert, Marilyn; Brandt, Jason; Blacker, Deborah; Sano, Mary; Stern, Yaakov

OBJECTIVE: To examine the effects of caregiver and patient characteristics on caregivers' medical care use and cost. METHODS: One hundred forty-seven caregiver/patient dyads were followed annually for 6 years in three academic Alzheimer's disease centers in the United States. Logistic, negative binomial, and generalized linear mixed models were used to examine overall effects of caregiver/patient characteristics on caregivers' hospitalizations, doctor visits, outpatient tests and procedures, and prescription and over-the-counter medications. RESULTS: Patients' comorbid conditions and dependence were associated with increased health-care use and costs of caregivers. Increases in caregiver depressive symptoms are associated with increases in multiple domains of caregivers' health-care use and costs. DISCUSSION: Findings suggest expanding our focus on dementia patients to include family caregivers to obtain a fuller picture of effects of caregiving. Primary care providers should integrate caregivers' needs in health-care planning and delivery. Clinical interventions that treat patients and caregivers as a whole will likely achieve the greatest beneficial effects.


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Alzheimer's and Dementia

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February 23, 2018
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