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BMC Health Serv Res. 2013 Sep 30;13:370. doi: 10.1186/1472-6963-13-370.

Economic evaluation alongside a single RCT of an integrative psychotherapeutic nursing home programme.

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Psychiatric-skilled nursing home 'DrieMaasStede', Argos Zorggroep, Voorberghlaan 35, P,O, Box 4023 3102, GA Schiedam, The Netherlands.



There is an 80% prevalence of two or more psychiatric symptoms in psychogeriatric patients. Multiple psychiatric symptoms (MPS) have many negative effects on quality of life of the patient as well as on caregiver burden and competence. Irrespective of the effectiveness of an intervention programme, it is important to take into account its economic aspects.


The economic evaluation was performed alongside a single open RCT and conducted between 2001 and 2006. The patients who met the selection criteria were asked to participate in the RCT. After the patient or his caregiver signed a written informed consent form, he was then randomly assigned to either IRR or UC.The costs and effects of IRR were compared to those of UC. We assessed the cost-utility of IRR as well as the cost-effectiveness of both conditions. Primary outcome variable: severity of MPS (NPI) of patients; secondary outcome variables: general caregiver burden (CB) and caregiver competence (CCL), quality of life (EQ5D) of the patient, and total medical costs per patient (TiC-P). Cost-utility was evaluated on the basis of differences in total medical costs). Cost-effectiveness was evaluated by comparing differences of total medical costs and effects on NPI, CB and CCL (Incremental Cost-Effectiveness Ratio: ICER). CEAC-analyses were performed for QALY and NPI-severity. All significant testing was fixed at p<0.05 (two-tailed). The data were analyzed according to the intention-to-treat (ITT)-principle. A complete cases approach (CC) was used.


IRR turned out to be non-significantly, 10.5% more expensive than UC (€ 36 per day). The number of QALYs was 0.01 higher (non-significant) in IRR, resulting in € 276,290 per QALY. According to the ICER-method, IRR was significantly more cost-effective on NPI-sum-severity of the patient (up to 34%), CB and CCL (up to 50%), with ICERs varying from € 130 to € 540 per additional point of improvement.


No significant differences were found on QALYs. In IRR patients improved significantly more on severity of MPS, and caregivers on general burden and competence, with incremental costs varying from € 130 to € 540 per additional point of improvement. The surplus costs of IRR are considered acceptable, taking into account the high societal costs of suffering from MPS of psychogeriatric patients and the high burden of caregivers. The large discrepancy in economic evaluation between QALYs (based on EQ5D) and ICERs (based on clinically relevant outcomes) demands further research on the validity of EQ5D in psychogeriatric cost-utility studies. (Trial registration nr.: ISRCTN 38916563; December 2004).

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