Memory Care Residents See Higher Mortality, Hospice Utilization Rates

Patients in assisted living-based memory care facilities have higher mortality rates and are more likely to enroll in hospice, a new study indicates.

Dementia-related illnesses have become one of the most frequently occuring principal diagnoses among hospice patients, tied with cancer, according to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.

In Fiscal Year 2022, 7.5% of the nation’s 1.7 million hospice recipients were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, 6.8% with senile degeneration of the brain and 3.5% with late-onset Alzheimer’s disease.


This is compared to 4.3% with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and 2.8% for heart failure, among other diagnoses.

“We find a higher mortality rate and higher rate of hospice use among memory-care residential care/assisted living residents,” the study authors wrote. “These findings suggest that memory care may attract residents closer to the end of life and/or promote hospice use at the end of life.”

Researchers followed the care of 15,152 fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias who moved to residential or assisted living facilities with more than 25 beds between 2016 and 2018. Subsequently, they used statistical tools to analyze the collected data.


Patients in general residential care or assisted living had an unadjusted mortality rate of 13.4%. For those in memory care, that rate was 15.8%. Hospice utilization was 8% and 10.6% among the general population in those settings and those in memory care, respectively. Memory care residents also had slightly longer lengths of stay, by about 1.4%.

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