Objectives: To determine whether costs of long-term nursing home (NH) care for patients who received a multicomponent targeted intervention (MTI) to prevent delirium while hospitalized were less than for those who did not receive the intervention.
Design: Longitudinal follow-up from a randomized trial.
Setting: Posthospital discharge settings: community-based care and NHs.
Participants: Eight hundred one hospitalized patients aged 70 and older.
Measurements: Patients were followed for 1 year after discharge, and measures of NH service use and costs were constructed. Total long-term NH costs were estimated using a two-part regression model and compared across intervention and control groups.
Results: Of the 400 patients in the intervention group and 401 patients in the matched control group, 153 (38%) and 148 (37%), respectively, were admitted to a NH during the year, and 54 (13%) and 51 (13%), respectively, were long-term NH patients. The MTI had no effect on the likelihood of receiving long-term NH care, but of patients receiving long-term NH care, those in the MTI group had significantly lower total costs, shorter length of stay and lower cost per survival day. Adjusted total costs were $50,881 per long-term NH patient in the MTI group and $60,327 in the control group, a savings of 15.7% (P=.01).
Conclusion: Active methods to prevent delirium are associated with a 15.7% decrease in long-term NH costs. Shorter length of stay of patients receiving long-term NH services was the primary source of these savings.