to characterize the cost of caring for an outpatient in Canada with Alzheimer disease (AD) based on disease severity, and to describe how costs change with increases in disease severity.
community-dwelling patients with mild-to-moderate AD were enrolled in a 3-year, naturalistic, observational study. Assessments included cognition (Mini Mental Status Examination), global ratings (Global Deterioration Scale [GDS]), and daily function (Functional Autonomy Measurement System) as part of the Canadian Outcomes Study in Dementia. Direct (medical and nonmedical) and indirect costs were collected using resource use questionnaires. Costs at baseline were compared with costs at follow-up and correlated with disease severity.
total costs associated with treating AD were significantly higher with greater disease severity. The mean total cost to treat patients with very mild AD (GDS = 2) was $367 per month, compared with $4063 per month for patients with severe or very severe AD (GDS = 6). From baseline to follow-up, the greatest changes in cost were observed in the group of patients with the most severe AD as measured by all scales. The largest component of total cost was indirect costs at most severity levels, though medication costs contributed the most in patients with very mild AD. Significant independent contributors to cost were being female, having more impaired activities of daily living, and exhibiting more neuropsychiatric symptoms.
costs for treating a patient with AD were strongly associated with disease severity, even though none of the patients were institutionalized. Delaying the progression of AD may reduce indirect costs and burden to caregivers.