Study Shows that Behavioral Issues Impact Hospitalization Risk

October 23, 2019

Nursing home residents with Alzheimer’s disease/related dementias (ADRD) and/or behavioral health disorders (BHD) are often believed to be at high risk of hospitalization. However, a study in the October issue of JAMDA determined that residents with ADRD had a lower risk of both potentially avoidable and potentially unavoidable hospitalizations while those with BHD had a significantly higher risk of potentially unavoidable admissions.

In Preventable Hospitalizations among Nursing Home Residents with Dementia and Behavioral Health Disorders, the authors reviewed nationwide assessment and claims data for 2014-2015, including the Minimum Data Sets (MDS). They identified 439,822 hospitalizations overall for long-stay nursing home residents. Individuals with ADRD (with or without BHD) were less likely to have any hospitalizations compared to those with neither ADRD or BHD or BHD alone. At the same time, the proportion of potentially avoidable hospitalizations was lowest among those with ADRD only.

The authors concluded that while national and state initiatives focusing on improving quality have a positive goal, they “may have negative and unintended consequences for individuals with ADRD and BHD.” They suggested that further study is needed to “better understand how such initiatives impact these most vulnerable of residents.”

This study was conducted by researchers at the Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, NY, and the Department of Psychiatry, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, NY.

Click here for more information on the findings above and more details about the study. To contact the researchers or JAMDA editor for an interview, please email



JAMDA is the official journal of AMDA – The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine. JAMDA publishes peer-reviewed articles including original studies, reviews, clinical experience articles, case reports, and more, on all topics more important to post-acute and long-term care medicine. Visit for more information.

About the Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine
AMDA – The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine is the only medical specialty society representing the community of over 50,000 medical directors, physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and other practitioners working in the various post-acute and long-term care (PALTC) settings. Dedicated to defining and improving quality, we advance our mission through timely professional development, evidence-based clinical guidance, and tireless advocacy on behalf of members, patients, families, and staff. Visit for more information.