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Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2010 Jun;18(6):475-82. doi: 10.1097/JGP.0b013e3181b2145a.

Predictors of preventable nursing home hospitalizations: the role of mental disorders and dementia.

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Department of Aging and Mental Health Disparities, Louis de la Parte Mental Health Institute, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, USA.



Nursing home (NH) hospitalizations place an enormous economic burden on an already overtaxed American healthcare system. Hospitalizations for "ambulatory care-sensitive" (ACS) conditions are considered preventable, as these are physical health conditions that can potentially be treated safely in a NH. The authors examined risk factors, including mental disorders and dementia, for hospitalization of Medicaid-enrolled NH residents with ACS conditions during fiscal year 2003-2006.


The authors merged Medicaid claims and enrollment data and Online Survey Certification and Reporting information for 72,251 Medicaid-enrolled NH residents in 647 NHs in Florida. The authors identified at least one ACS hospitalization in 8,382 residents for a total of 10,091 hospital admissions (18.5% of all hospitalizations). The authors used Cox proportional hazard regression to assess time to the first ACS hospitalization.


In a fully adjusted model, younger age, non-white race, dementia, and serious mental disorder were associated with greater risk of ACS hospitalization. In addition, residents with a diagnosed mental disorder and no dementia incurred relatively high expenditures for ACS hospitalizations. Among facility characteristics, participants from for-profit facilities, facilities that were not a member of a chain, had more Medicaid recipients, and fewer than 120 beds had greater risk of ACS hospitalizations.


Attention to the identified predictors of hospitalization for ACS conditions, which are potentially preventable, could reduce the risk and cost of these hospitalizations among Medicaid-enrolled NH residents. The need to reduce unnecessary hospitalization will become only more urgent as the population ages and healthcare expenses continue to escalate.

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