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The cost of dysphagia in geriatric patients

Authors Westmark S, Melgaard D, Rethmeier LO, Ehlers LH

Received 16 February 2018

Accepted for publication 4 April 2018

Published 6 June 2018 Volume 2018:10 Pages 321—326


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Dean Smith

Signe Westmark,1 Dorte Melgaard,1,2 Line O Rethmeier,3 Lars Holger Ehlers3

1Center for Clinical Research, North Denmark Regional Hospital, Hjørring, Denmark; 2Department of Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy, North Denmark Regional Hospital, Hjørring, Denmark; 3Danish Center for Healthcare Improvements, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark

Objectives: To estimate the annual cost at the hospital and in the municipality (social care) due to dysphagia in geriatric patients.
Design: Retrospective cost analysis of geriatric patients with dysphagia versus geriatric patients without dysphagia 1 year before hospitalization.
Setting: North Denmark Regional Hospital, Hjørring Municipality, Frederikshavn Municipality, and Brønderslev Municipality.
Subjects: A total of 258 hospitalized patients, 60 years or older, acute hospitalized in the geriatric department.
Materials and methods: Volume-viscosity swallow test and the Minimal Eating Observation Form-II were conducted for data collection. A Charlson Comorbidity Index score measured comorbidity, and functional status was measured by Barthel-100. To investigate the cost of dysphagia, patient-specific data on health care consumption at the hospital and in the municipality (nursing, home care, and training) were collected from medical registers and records 1 year before hospitalization including the hospitalization for screening for dysphagia. Multiple linear regression analyses were conducted to determine the relationship between dysphagia and hospital and municipality costs, respectively, adjusting for age, gender, and comorbidity.
Results: Patients with dysphagia were significantly costlier than patients without dysphagia in both hospital (p=0.013) and municipality costs (p=0.028) compared to patients without dysphagia. Adjusted annual hospital costs in patients with dysphagia were 27,347 DKK (3,677 EUR, 4,282 USD) higher than patients without dysphagia at the hospital, and annual health care costs in the municipality were 46,044 DKK (6,192 EUR, 7,209 USD) higher.
Conclusion: Geriatric patients with dysphagia were significantly costlier for both hospital and municipality costs compared to geriatric patients without dysphagia.

Keywords: elderly, swallowing disorders, cost analysis, hospital, municipality

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