Pain Impacting Quality of Life in Persons with Dementia Dying in the Nursing Home by Alternative Medicare Payment Model

Jennifer N. Bunker, Susan L. Mitchell, Emmanuelle Belanger, Pedro L. Gozalo, Joan M. Teno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Medicare alternative payment models were created to improve health care value by controlling costs and improving care quality. Objective: To determine if prevalence of pain affecting quality of life (QoL) differs by Medicare payment model among nursing home (NH) decedents with dementia at the end of life. Setting/Subjects: NH decedents in 2017/2018 in the United States with dementia who self-reported pain on a Minimum Data Set assessment in the last 30 days of life. Measurements: Main outcome was pain impacting QoL (i.e., affecting day-to-day activities or sleep). Multivariable logistic analysis examined the association between payment model (traditional Medicare [TM], Medicare Advantage [MA], or accountable care organizations [ACOs]) and pain impacting QoL after controlling for potential confounders. Results: There were 115,757 NH residents with dementia who self-reported pain in the last 30 days of life. Of those, 17.8% (n = 20,585) reported having pain the last five days from assessment, which varied by Medicare payment model (17.7% in TM, 17.5% in MA, and 19.1% in ACOs; p < 0.001). Among decedents reporting pain, 23.6% of ACO decedents reported pain affecting QoL compared to 22.1% in MA and 21.6% in TM (p = 0.09). After adjustment, decedents in ACOs compared to TM had greater predicted probability of pain affecting QoL (absolute marginal difference 0.017, 95% CI 0.00-0.035, p = 0.05), and persons in MA did not differ from persons in TM (absolute marginal difference 0.005, 95% CI -0.008 to 0.019, p = 0.41). Conclusions and Implications: Among dementia decedents dying with pain, pain impacted QoL in more than one in five persons. All payment models can improve pain management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1795-1801
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of palliative medicine
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • alternative Medicare payment model
  • dementia
  • nursing home
  • pain
  • quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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