Injuries are a leading cause of emergency department (ED) visits among older adults, and individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD) may be at particular risk. We compared injury-related ED use among assisted living (AL) residents with and without ADRD and assessed differences in the risk of injury-related ED visits among individuals with ADRD residing in ALs with memory care designation versus general AL.
Using Medicare claims, we identified a cohort of fee-for-service beneficiaries who lived in AL in 2018 and resided in one of 20 states with site-specific information on memory care designation (n = 116,754). Outcomes included all injury-related ED visits and injury-related ED visits resulting in hospitalization in the calendar year 2018. We fit multilevel models of the association between ADRD and outcomes, adjusting for resident demographic characteristics and chronic conditions, license type characteristics, and AL characteristics, with random intercepts at the AL and license type levels. Among residents with ADRD, we examined whether memory care licensure was associated with injury-related ED visits.
The adjusted risk of injury-related ED use during the year was 20.1% (95% CI: 19.6%, 20.6%) for residents with ADRD compared to 16.1% for residents without ADRD (95% CI: 15.7%, 16.5%; p < 0.001). The adjusted risk of injury-related ED use ending in hospitalization was 4.9% (95% CI: 4.6%, 5.1%) for AL residents with ADRD and 3.9% for residents without ADRD (95% CI: 3.8%, 4.1%; p < 0.001). There were no significant differences in injury-related ED visits between residents with ADRD in ALs with memory care designation and residents in general AL. Conclusions Injury-related ED visits are common among AL residents with ADRD and residents in memory care, but residents in memory care AL experienced similar risks of injury as those in general AL. Further research should identify modifiable factors that can prevent injury among AL residents with ADRD.