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January 11, 2012

Prevention of Unnecessary Hospitalization for Patients With DementiaThe Role of Ambulatory Care

JAMA. 2012;307(2):197-198. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.2005

Dementia is a chronic disease with devastating effects on patients, caregivers, and families. Current projections indicate that 115 million new patients will be affected worldwide by 2050.1 Because of the sheer size of the epidemic, this problem for patients, families, clinicians, and public health requires balancing efforts toward finding a cure with ensuring the wide implementation of available state-of-the-art care that, while not curative, is effective in reducing symptoms, improving quality of life, and slowing functional decline. With ongoing efforts to develop disease-modifying therapies for Alzheimer disease, the most common form of dementia, treatments that emerge over the next few decades may well increase the prevalence of dementia by slowing its progression, further underscoring the need to effectively care for patients and their caregivers.