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As a degenerative disease, the progression of dementia needs continued care provision and poses both psychological and financial burden for family caregivers of persons with dementia (PWD). This study seeks to compare predictors of care costs and caregiver burden, and to identify modifiable factors that could alleviate the burden faced by dementia caregivers.
This study interviewed 231 PWD–caregiver dyads in a dementia clinic at a teaching hospital in southern Taiwan in 2013. A follow-up study was conducted a year later, and 167 dyads completed the second interview. Data collected included PWD characteristics, caregiver characteristics, relationship to PWD, and social support to caregivers. Caregiver burden was measured with the Zarit Burden Interview instrument. The association between each predictor variable and cost of care and caregiver burden scores was examined using linear mixed models.
Predictors of care costs were found to be different from predictors of caregiver burden: functional declines measured by Katz’s activities of daily living (ADL) scale were associated with total cost as compared to behavioral disturbance measured by Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI), which showed no impact on care costs. However, NPI was a significant predictor of caregiver burden. Caregivers who were better-off financially also reported significantly lower caregiver burden.
Since predictors of care costs were different from the predictors of caregiver burden, providing training to caregivers in addressing PWD’s behavioral disturbance and proving financial assistance to low income caregivers could be effective in reducing caregiver burden.
Caregiver burden (CB) of Alzheimer's disease (AD) in Taiwan is becoming an urgent social issue as well as that in Japan. The comparison of CB may explain how caregiver feels burden in each country.
The participants were 343 outpatients with AD and their caregivers of Japan (n = 230) and Taiwan (n = 113). We assessed the CB using the Japanese and Chinese version of Zarit Caregiver Burden Interview (ZBI). The initial analysis was an exploratory factor analysis for each group to confirm the factor structure of ZBI. Then, the multiple-group structural equation modeling (MG-SEM) was used to assess the measurement invariance of ZBI such as configural, metric, and scalar invariances. Lastly, we compared the latent factor means of the ZBI between Japan and Taiwan.
In both groups, the confirmatory factor analysis extracted 3 factors which were labeled “Impact on caregiver's life”, “Embarrassed/anger”, and “Dependency”. The MG-SEM indicated an acceptable model fit, and established the partial scalar measurement invariance (comparative fit index (CFI) = 0.901, root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA) = 0.066). When we compared the latent factor means, the score of “Impact on caregiver's life” in Taiwanese caregivers was significantly higher than that in Japanese (p = 0.001). However, “Dependency” in Taiwanese caregivers was lower than that in Japanese (p < 0.001).
Partial measurement invariance allowed comparing the latent factor mean across two countries. The results of comparisons suggested that there may be differences in the way of feeling CB between Japan and Taiwan.
Pharmaceutical therapy for patients with dementia including cholinesterase inhibitors (ChEI) and memantine is covered by Taiwan's National Health Insurance (NHI) but with strict reimbursement criteria. This study compared utilization of selected cognitive enhancers among elderly patients with dementia and estimated associated differences in medical care costs.
This study used medical claims and pharmacy claims from the NHI Research Database of Taiwan from 2009 to 2011, which included all patients 65 years or older diagnosed with dementia in their outpatient or inpatient claims. Both individual-level and market-level analysis were performed to calculate the average medical costs per person and the share of drug expenditures. Generalized linear models with propensity score adjustment estimated differences in medical care costs by use of selected cognitive enhancers.
Users of ChEI had the highest medication and outpatient costs but the lowest inpatient costs among all users of cognitive enhancers. However, annual adjusted total medical care costs per ChEI user were not significantly different from those who used cerebral vasodilators (CBV). In 2011, 52.4% of the elderly with dementia in Taiwan used cognitive enhancers, but among them 88.3% used CBV while 9.2% used ChEI. Among patients with dementia who used at least one cognitive enhancer, the aggregated expenditure as a share of their total drug expenditures was 9.7% in 2011.
Given that CBV had a much higher utilization rate than ChEI or memantine among elderly people with dementia, the strict reimbursement policy for ChEI and memantine may need to be revisited to increase access to those drugs by patients with dementia in Taiwan.
The aim of this study was to examine and test the sensitivity, specificity, and threshold scores of the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) and the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and determine those that best correspond to a clinical diagnosis of dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB).
Sixty-seven Alzheimer's disease (AD), 36 DLB, and 62 healthy participants without dementia (NC), aged 60 to 90, were enrolled. All three groups took the MoCA and MMSE tests at the same time. The Cochran–Mantel–Haenszel tests and receiver operating characteristics curve analysis were used to compare the different neuropsychological test results among the groups.
The cut-off point of the MoCA for AD was 21/22 with a sensitivity of 95.5% and a specificity of 82.3% (area under the curve (AUC): 0.945), and the cut-off point for DLB was 22/23 with a sensitivity of 91.7% and a specificity of 80.6% (AUC: 0.932). For the MMSE, the cut-off points for AD and for DLB from NC were all 24/25, with a sensitivity of 88.1% and a specificity of 85.5% for AD (AUC: 0.92), and a sensitivity of 77.8% and a specificity of 85.5% for DLB (AUC: 0.895). After controlling sex, age, and education, AD and DLB had lower scores in all MoCA subscales than the NC group (p < 0.05), except for the orientation and naming in DLB. In addition, AD had a lower score in the MoCA orientation (p = 0.03) and short-term memory (p = 0.02) than did DLB.
The MoCA is a more sensitive instrument than the MMSE to screen AD or DLB patients from non-dementia cases.