Background: Dementia treatment guidelines are not consistent in determining how long to continue acetylcholinesterase inhibitor (AChEI) treatment in patients with Alzheimer's disease. Objective: Our aim was to examine reasons for AChEI discontinuation in a nursing home to better understand how practitioners actually decide when to stop treatment. Methods: A retrospective chart review was done on 107 deceased nursing home veterans who had been taking an AChEI to determine the time between discontinuation and death. Results: In the majority of residents (n = 67; 63%), the AChEI was continued into the week preceding death. Reasons for discontinuation were dying or death (n = 56; 52%), admission to hospice (n = 13; 12.2%), and admission to the nursing home (n = 5; 4.7%). Admission to hospice (P = 0.01), hospice length of stay (P = 0.0004), and length of stay at Minnesota Veterans Home (P = 0.02) were significantly associated with discontinuation of AchEI before the last week of life. Conclusion: Our study showed that residents were significantly more likely to have their AChEI discontinued if they were either admitted to hospice, stayed longer in hospice, or stayed longer in the nursing home. In addition, the majority of residents continued AChEI treatment until sometime during the week before death occurred.
- Alzheimer's disease
- acetylcholinesterase inhibitors
- nursing home