The impact of dementia on care transitions during the last two years of life

Age Ageing. 2012 Jan;41(1):52-7. doi: 10.1093/ageing/afr133. Epub 2011 Nov 16.


Background: Dementia is one of the main challenges to our health and social care. This study compares the number and timing of transitions between care settings in the last 2 years of life among older people with and without dementia.

Methods: Data were derived from Finnish national registers, and include all those who died in 2002 and 2003 at the age of 70 or older (n = 70,366). Negative binomial regression analyses were used to analyse the impact of dementia on number of transitions among people with and without dementia and to adjust the number for age, gender and other diagnoses.

Results: In the group that lived at home 2 years before death people with a dementia diagnosis had 32% more care transitions than people without dementia, while the group that was in residential care facility 2 years before death people with dementia had 12% fewer moves than those without dementia The average number of transition was highest in last 3 months of life. People with dementia had their last move more often between care facilities and hospitals offering basic health care than people without dementia.

Conclusion: Dementia has a significant impact on the number and type of transitions. As the number of people with dementia increases, the quality and equity of care of these patients in their last years constitute a special challenge.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Continuity of Patient Care*
  • Dementia / epidemiology
  • Dementia / therapy*
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Residential Facilities / statistics & numerical data