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Nearly half of care home residents with advanced dementia have clinically significant agitation. Little is known about costs associated with these symptoms toward the end of life. We calculated monetary costs associated with agitation from UK National Health Service, personal social services, and societal perspectives.
Prospective cohort study.
Thirteen nursing homes in London and the southeast of England.
Seventy-nine people with advanced dementia (Functional Assessment Staging Tool grade 6e and above) residing in nursing homes, and thirty-five of their informal carers.
Data collected at study entry and monthly for up to 9 months, extrapolated for expression per annum. Agitation was assessed using the Cohen-Mansfield Agitation Inventory (CMAI). Health and social care costs of residing in care homes, and costs of contacts with health and social care services were calculated from national unit costs; for a societal perspective, costs of providing informal care were estimated using the resource utilization in dementia (RUD)-Lite scale.
After adjustment, health and social care costs, and costs of providing informal care varied significantly by level of agitation as death approached, from £23,000 over a 1-year period with no agitation symptoms (CMAI agitation score 0–10) to £45,000 at the most severe level (CMAI agitation score >100). On average, agitation accounted for 30% of health and social care costs. Informal care costs were substantial, constituting 29% of total costs.
With the increasing prevalence of dementia, costs of care will impact on healthcare and social services systems, as well as informal carers. Agitation is a key driver of these costs in people with advanced dementia presenting complex challenges for symptom management, service planners, and providers.
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