For-profit hospitals were the most likely to insert feeding tubes into dementia patients between 2000 and 2007, followed by not-for-profit hospitals with religious affiliations, according to a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Per 100 dementia admissions during the study period, for-profit hospitals inserted 8.5 feeding tubes compared with 7.6 for religion-affiliated hospitals, 6.8 for secular not-for-profits and 5.5 for government-owned hospitals.
Feeding-tube use in dementia patients higher at for-profit hospitals: study
The gap between for-profits and religious-affiliated hospitals narrowed once the researchers adjusted the figures to account for the characteristics of both the hospital and the patients.
The study covered 2,797 hospitals that had 30 or more admissions of nursing home residents with advanced cognitive impairment; 335 of these hospitals, or 12% of the total, inserted no feeding tubes during the study period. Nursing home residents were studied because other research showed that two-thirds of nursing home residents who use a feeding tube had the tube first inserted during a stay in an acute-care hospital, according to the authors.
The researchers said the overall rates of feeding-tube insertion fell during the study period, from a mean of 7.9 insertions per 100 dementia patients in 2000 to a mean of 6.2 in 2007.
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