Dementia diagnosis in the hospital and outcomes among patients with advanced dementia documented in the Minimum Data Set

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2022 Mar;70(3):846-853. doi: 10.1111/jgs.17564. Epub 2021 Nov 19.


Background: Individuals with dementia do not always have a diagnosis of dementia noted on their hospital claims. Whether this lack of documentation is associated with patient outcomes is unknown. We examined the association between a dementia diagnosis listed on a hospital claim and patient outcomes among individuals with a Minimum Data Set (MDS) assessment.

Methods: A retrospective cohort study was conducted using administrative claims data and nursing home MDS assessments. Hospitalized patients aged 66 and older with advanced dementia noted on an MDS assessment completed within 120 days prior to their first hospitalization in 2017 were included. Advanced dementia was defined based on an MDS diagnosis of dementia, dependency in four or more activities of daily living, and a Cognitive Function Scale score indicative of moderate to severe impairment. Multilevel regression with a random intercept at the hospital level was used to examine the relationship between documentation of dementia in inpatient hospital Medicare claims and the following patient outcomes after adjusting for patient and hospital characteristics: invasive mechanical ventilation (IMV) use, intensive care unit or coronary care unit (ICU/CCU) use, 30-day mortality, and hospital length of stay (LOS).

Results: In 2017, among 120,989 patients with advanced dementia and a nursing home stay, 90.57% had a dementia diagnosis on their hospital claims. In adjusted models, documentation of a dementia diagnosis was associated with lower use of the ICU/CCU (adjusted odds ratio [AOR]: 0.78 [95% confidence interval 0.74, 0.81]), use of IMV (AOR: 0.50 [0.47, 0.54]), and 30-day mortality (AOR: 0.81 [0.77, 0.85]). Patients with a dementia diagnosis had a shorter LOS.

Conclusions: Among patients with advanced dementia, those whose dementia diagnosis was documented on their inpatient hospital Medicare claim experienced lower use of ICU/CCU, use of IMV, lower 30-day mortality, and shorter LOS than those whose diagnosis was not documented.

Keywords: dementia; diagnosis; invasive mechanical ventilation; mortality.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aged
  • Dementia* / diagnosis
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Medicare*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • United States / epidemiology