Spouses of persons with dementia: Their healthcare problems, utilization, and costs



Spouses of persons with dementia (PWD) often experience poor health outcomes related to the experience of living with the afflicted spouse. Using the Anderson and Aday Healthcare Utilization Model, we conducted a retrospective review of an administrative database from a private healthcare insurer to compare health problems that precipitate utilization, patterns of utilization, and costs of care of spouses of PWD (n = 979) to those of spouses of persons without dementia (n = 979). Spouses of PWD were treated for more anxiety disorders (OR = 2.97; 95% CI = 1.63–5.44), falls (OR = 7.72; 95% CI = 2.73-21.84), rheumatologic diseases (OR = 2.5; 95% CI = 1.24–5.06), and diabetes with no complications (OR = 1.53; 95% CI = 1.06-2.22), but less pneumonia (OR = .55; 95%; CI = .35–.88) than comparison spouses. Spouses of PWD had a higher number of emergency room (ER) visits (p = .01). There were no differences in costs between the groups. The findings can be used to develop interventions for spouses of PWD. © 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Res Nurs Health 27:296–306, 2004