Interprofessional primary care for dementia patients linked with increased ER visits

Individuals with dementia require care from a variety of healthcare providers. Interprofessional team care has been touted as most beneficial to this patient population.

Researchers compared emergency department use and hospitalizations in people with dementia receiving care from an interprofessional primary care team and people seeking care from a physician-only group practice. Interprofessional primary care was associated with increased emergency department use but not hospitalizations in people recently diagnosed with dementia, as compared to those receiving care from a physician-only primary care practice. The researchers found no evidence of an association between interprofessional primary care and hospitalization outcomes.

This unexpected finding regarding the increase in urgent and non-urgent ER visits raises concerns about the possible impact of interdisciplinary teams on ER visit volume. The authors, however, point out that it's possible the observed increase in ER visits was appropriate. While interprofessional primary care may be well-suited to manage the growing and complex dementia population, a better understanding of the optimal characteristics of team-based care is needed.

Source:
Journal reference:

Sourial, N., et al. (2022) Interprofessional primary care and acute care hospital use by people with dementia: A population-based study. The Annals of Family Medicine. doi.org/10.1370/afm.2881.

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