The chance that nursing home residents with advanced dementia will receive inappropriate care may be related to their insurance coverage, a new study suggests.
Fewer dying people with dementia were moved to the hospital for possibly unneeded care when their insurance coverage paid on a per-patient basis, rather than for every test and treatment, researchers found.
NYU School of Medicine’s Keith Goldfeld said so-called managed care organizations are motivated to stop people from receiving unnecessary and costly care.
People with advanced dementia won’t usually benefit from being hospitalized during the last months of life for acute ailments like pneumonia, Goldfeld, the study’s lead researcher, said. The focus should be on making the person comfortable.
“When the focus is on comfort, the idea is to try to limit the type of care that could be burdensome for the patient and costly,” he said.
Nursing homes may want to send very sick residents to hospitals because it shifts the cost of treating them from the homes to the hospitals and Medicare, the government-run health insurance for the elderly and disabled.
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