Management of Agitation in Dementia and Effects on Inpatient Length of Stay
Agitation associated with dementia impacts delivery of medical care and is a major reason for institutionalization in dementia patients. This study examines the association of medication use and other clinical factors with patients’ ‘dischargeability’ (i.e., amount of time until a patient is considered dischargeable from an inpatient unit).
This study was a retrospective chart review examining 200 patients with dementia and agitation, hospitalized at a Canadian acute care geriatric ward between November 2007 and November 2018. The main outcome measure was time until a patient was deemed dischargeable. Univariate linear regression analyses, followed by multiple linear regression analyses, were used.
Risperidone and quetiapine were the most commonly prescribed medications, but were not associated with time until dischargeable. Olanzapine (40.9 vs. 16.2 days until dischargeable, β = 0.23, p = .001), regular benzodiazepine (32.7 vs. 16.5 days until dischargeable, β = 0.15, p = .027), and as-needed (‘PRN’) benzodiazepine use (31.7 vs. 15.9 days until dischargeable, β =0.19, p = .006) were independently associated with prolonging time until dischargeable.
Olanzapine, benzodiazepine, and PRN benzodiazepine use were associated with longer time until patients with dementia and agitation were considered ready for discharge. This raises the question as to whether the risks of these medications outweigh the benefits in a hospital setting.
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