24 May 2022

The research published in Age & Ageing, was part of the Empowering Better End of Life Dementia Care (EMBED-care)

The study was carried out in four south London boroughs and analysed data on 19,221 people aged 50 and over, diagnosed with dementia between 1995-2017. The researchers from the palliative and end of life care theme, linked anonymised data on patients who were diagnosed with dementia to hospital admission and mortality data.

 

dementia care

There were over 54,000 unplanned hospital admissions recorded, with over one in three admissions (37.3%) occurring in the last year of life, and many experiencing more than one admission. People who died with dementia spent 19.6% and 13.3% of their time in hospital due to unplanned hospital admissions in the last 6 and 12 months of their lives, respectively. In the sample, similar to national data, 38.1% died in the hospital and of these, 9.1% died on their first unplanned hospital admission after diagnosis.

This research shows that during the end-of-life period, people with dementia experience a much higher number of unplanned hospital admissions.
These admissions, while sometimes necessary, can be detrimental to the person living with dementia, and may be a consequence of poor community support. Understanding when unplanned hospital admissions are most likely to occur can help to inform where resources need to be invested to provide high-quality dementia care

Emel Yorganci, researcher, King's College London