Langa et al. find more ER visits for older disabled patients with weary caregiver spouses
A recent U-M study indicates that disabled older adults with fatigued or distressed caregiver spouses tend to have more ER visits – perhaps for respite care – than their counterparts. The researchers, including MiCDA’s Kenneth Langa, looked at Medicare payments and ER visits for disabled adults 65+ years old in the six months after their caregiver spouses took standard tests to measure fatigue, mood, sleep habits, health and happiness. They found ER visits were 23% higher among patients whose spouses’ test scores indicated high fatigue, sadness, or poor health. Their findings suggest that identifying and supporting caregiver spouses in distress could help caregivers while reducing the higher use of ER facilities, and attendant costs, for their disabled spouses.