Alzheimer's Caregiver Coping Program Does Not Increase Health Care Costs

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These findings suggest that behavioral interventions are a viable mechanism to support burdened dementia caregivers.
These findings suggest that behavioral interventions are a viable mechanism to support burdened dementia caregivers.

HealthDay News — Caregiver participation in Resources for Enhancing Alzheimer's Caregivers Health (REACH II or REACH VA) behavioral interventions is not associated with increased Veterans Affairs or Medicare expenditures, according to a study published online March 13 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Linda O. Nichols, PhD, from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, and colleagues examined caregiver and care recipient health care costs associated with caregiver participation in REACH II or REACH VA behavioral interventions to improve coping skills and management of care recipients. Data were included for 110 caregivers and 197 care recipients with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias from 5 community sites (REACH II), as well as care recipients whose caregivers participated in REACH VA and a propensity matched control group (491 participants).

The researchers found that caregivers and care recipients who participated in either REACH intervention had no increase in VA or Medicare expenditures. REACH was associated with significantly lower total VA costs of care (33.6%) for VA care recipients. There were no data available on VA caregiver costs.

"These findings suggest that behavioral interventions are a viable mechanism to support burdened dementia caregivers without additional health care costs," the authors wrote.

Reference

Nichols LO, Martindale-Adams J, Zhu CW, Kaplan EK, Zuber JK, Waters TM. Impact of the REACH II and REACH VA dementia caregiver interventions on healthcare costs [published online March 13, 2017]. J Am Geriatr Soc. doi:10.1111/jgs.14716

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