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A new approach to determining post-acute care for older adults with dementia

Are older adults with dementia “rehabbed to death?” This is the contention of a perspective published in the New England Journal of Medicine, describing the downward cycle of rehospitalization leading to death that many of these older adults experience. Hospitalization is a particularly significant event for older adults with dementia, who may experience cognitive decline and physical deconditioning during their hospital stay. Patients and families face difficult questions as they approach the end of that hospital stay: How can we meet this older adult’s care needs, and what care setting is most appropriate? Will they recover, rehabilitate, and return to their pre-hospitalization selves?