Preventing unnecessary ER visits, hospital admissions and re-admissions
The most expensive chronic diseases in the U.S. based on total direct healthcare costs are: Diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and Osteoarthiritis1. Individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease Related Dementias (ADRD) have higher levels of hospital admissions, re-admissions, and ER visits that result in:
Medicare costs of $26,360 for individuals with ADRD vs. $8,100 for those without ADRD2
75% higher mean Medicare ED payments for those with ADRD vs. for those without ADRD3
Individuals with ADRD require intense levels of caregiving and their caregivers play a large role in health care decisions. Due to a lack of support caregivers often become overwhelmed and seek expensive medical care that’s unnecessary.
Since 2018, Congress has addressed the need to better support caregivers of the chronically ill:
CHRONIC Care Act
RAISE Family Caregivers Act
Alzheimer’s Caregiver Support Act (pending in the 117th Congress)
Insurer programs have addressed caregiver needs through education and access to community resources. While beneficial, these programs haven’t addressed the root problem – empowering caregivers to effectively interact with healthcare systems and decreasing caregiver stress while fulfilling this difficult role.
Communication that results in meaningful connections and reaches caregivers through a multi-component approach holds the potential to foster valuable, trusting relationships.
Innovative programs are leading the way. The University of California, San Francisco’s (UCSF) dementia care ecosystem developed at their Memory and Aging Centers is a great example. GLENNERCARETM introduced by The George G. Glenner Alzheimer’s Family Centers delivers highly effective dementia care through a virtual service model. These types of programs deliver:
Improved dementia patient well-being
Decreased levels of caregiver depression
Reduced caregiver burden
Decreased number of emergency department visits
Fewer unnecessary hospital admissions and re-admissions
VirtuALZ embraced the innovative methods and principles that originated in these programs when creating a new value-based caregiver support program.
Milken Institute: The Costs of Chronic Diseases in the U.S. (2018)
The American Journal of Managed Care