The costs and benefits of an integrated approach to dementia
background An integrated approach to dementia is generally recommended because no one discipline is adequately equipped it deal with the complex psychic, physical and social problems that are inherent in dementia. A multidisciplinary approach, however, leads inevitably to higher costs. It is not known what the cost/benefit ratio will be.
aim To describe our research into the costs and benefits of an integrated approach to dementia involving the use of a diagnostic research centre for psycho-geriatrics (drc-pg) and thereafter to compare our findings with the results of other studies of the costs and benefits of an integrated approach.
method We performed a prospective and randomised efficiency study and we compared our findings with the
results of other studies of the costs and benefits of an integrated approach. We reviewed recent literature. results The drc-pg was more effective than normal care as far as the patients’ quality of life was concerned, but was not more expensive. It can therefore be regarded as a cost-effective facility for ambulatory patients with dementia. Three other studies provided additional empirical evidence of the success of a similar integrated approach in various sectors involved in the care of patients with dementia.
conclusion An integrated approach with regard to the diagnosis, treatment and management of dementia produces favourable results. More research is needed into the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of integrated care programmes. This should result in improvements in the care and treatment of patients with dementia.