Theses Doctoral

Hospitalization Risk Factors of Elderly Home Health Care Patients with Dementia

Bick, Irene

Hospitalizations are a major driver of Medicare spending and adverse outcomes for the 5.3 million elderly Americans with dementia. This is a growing problem given aging and longevity trends. Within the home health care setting, about 3.5 million mostly frail elderly Medicare beneficiaries receive care and 27% are hospitalized annually. Estimates of dementia prevalence range from 31 to 60%, yet little is known about the hospitalization of home health care patients with dementia. This study addresses knowledge gaps on the prevalence, characteristics, hospitalization rate and risk factors of these patients, and explores whether hospitalization risk factors are moderated by dementia.
A systematic literature review on hospitalization risk factors in the home health care setting was completed and the findings informed the selection of variables and hypotheses for this study. This was a retrospective cohort study and the sample was patients admitted to one large non-profit home health care agency during 2014 (n=57,888). Data were from the Outcome and Assessment Information Set and other home health agency data captured at the start of care. The conceptual framework guiding the analysis was Andersen’s Behavioral Model of Health Services Use. Because more than half of those who would meet clinical criteria for dementia are undiagnosed, the operational definition of dementia for this study was a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, or an indication of cognitive impairment in the start of care assessment. Multivariable logistic regression was used to identify characteristics of dementia patients and hospitalization risk factors, and to explore dementia as a moderator of hospitalization risk factors.
Prevalence of dementia among the study sample was 41.6%. Consistent with prior studies on the general dementia population, older age, Black and Hispanic race/ethnicity, Medicaid eligibility, fall risk, congregate living, more comorbidities, behavioral symptoms, depression, assistance with activities of daily living, and communication disabilities were associated with dementia. However, contrary to prior studies, serious health status, higher need for assistance with activities of daily living, and higher use of health services were negatively associated with dementia. The hospitalization rate for patients with dementia (12.9%) was significantly higher than the rate for patients without dementia (10.7%). Hospitalization risk factors of dementia patients that were consistent with prior studies among home health patients included male gender, Black race, Medicaid eligibility, number of comorbidities, higher need for assistance with activities of daily living, cardiovascular conditions, dyspnea, cancer, diabetes, renal disease, skin ulcers and higher health services use. The moderator analysis found that dementia attenuated the effect of some hospitalization risk factors and had no effect on others.
This study was a first step toward better understanding the characteristics and hospitalization risk factors of home health care patients with dementia. Findings from this research can inform practice, policy and future research on home health care patients with dementia.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Dowding, Dawn
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
July 21, 2018