Objectives: To identify outpatient and hospital health care usage among dementia patients compared to controls. Methods: Analysis of the French National Health Insurance general regime reimbursement database, linked to the national hospitalization database for 2007; 258,809 subjects over the age of 60 with dementia were compared to a sample of 88,296 controls. Results: Dementia patients more frequently had at least one annual visit to private psychiatrists and neurologists (21.9%, relative risk, RR = 7.0), nursing care (52%, RR = 1.3), physiotherapy (37%, RR = 1.45), and hospitalization (40.8%, RR = 1.7), and they less frequently consulted other private specialists (62%, RR = 0.85). Many diagnosis groups were significantly more frequent in dementia patients: nervous system (RR = 5.3), psychiatry (RR = 9.1), respiratory medicine (RR = 1.8), unspecified (RR = 2.4). Hospitalizations for endoscopy, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and treatment of disabilities such as cataracts (RR = 0.7) were less frequent. Higher relative levels of health care use decreased with age for dementia patients. Conclusions: Although the use of some forms of health care can be explained by the clinical condition induced by dementia, others must be interpreted in light of modes of medical and social management and ethical justification for screening and investigations.
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