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The Effect of a Comprehensive Dementia Care Management Program on End-of-Life Care.

  • Author(s): Jennings, Lee A
  • Turner, Maurice
  • Keebler, Chandra
  • Burton, Carl H
  • Romero, Tahmineh
  • Wenger, Neil S
  • Reuben, David B
  • et al.

Published Web Location

https://doi.org/10.1111/jgs.15769
Abstract

BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES:Although Alzheimer disease and other dementias are life limiting, only a minority of these patients or their proxy decision makers participate in advance care planning. We describe end-of-life care preferences and acute care and hospice use in the last 6 months of life for persons enrolled in a comprehensive dementia care management program. DESIGN:Observational, retrospective cohort. SETTING:Urban, academic medical center. PARTICIPANTS:A total of 322 persons enrolled in dementia care management after July 1, 2012, who died before July 1, 2016. INTERVENTION:Dementia care comanagement model using nurse practitioners partnered with primary care providers and community organizations to provide comprehensive dementia care, including advance care planning. MEASUREMENTS:Advance care preferences, use of Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST), hospice enrollment, and hospitalizations and emergency department (ED) visits in the last 6 months of life obtained from electronic health record data. RESULTS:Nearly all decedents (99.7%, N = 321) had a goals-of-care conversation documented (median = 3 conversations; interquartile range = 2-4 conversations), and 64% had advance care preferences recorded. Among those with recorded preferences, 88% indicated do not resuscitate, 48% limited medical interventions, and 35% chose comfort-focused care. Most patients (89%) specified limited artificial nutrition, including withholding feeding tubes. Over half (54%) had no hospitalizations or ED visits in the last 6 months of life, and intensive care unit stays were rare (5% of decedents). Overall, 69% died on hospice. Decedents who had completed a POLST were more likely to die in hospice care (74% vs 62%; P = .03) and die at home (70% vs 59%; P = .04). CONCLUSIONS:Enrollees in a comprehensive dementia care comanagement program had high engagement in advance care planning, high rates of hospice use, and low acute care utilization near the end of life. Wider implementation of such programs may improve end-of-life care for persons with dementia. J Am Geriatr Soc 67:443-448, 2019.

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