Objective The main aim of this paper is to give an overview on the quality of life, health care utilisation and costs of dementia in Hungary. Method A cross-sectional non-population based study of 88 consecutive dementia patients and their caregivers was conducted in three GP practices and one outpatient setting in 2008. Resource Utilization in Dementia (RUD), Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) and quality of life (EQ-5D) were surveyed and cost calculations were performed. Costs of patients living at home were estimated by the current bottom-up cost-of-illness calculations, while costs of nursing home patients were considered by official reimbursement to determine the disease burden from a societal viewpoint. Results The mean age of the patients was 77.4 years (SD=9.2), 59% of them were female. The mean MMSE score was 16.70 (SD=7.24), and the mean EQ-5D score was 0.40 (SD=0.34). The average annual cost of dementia was 6,432 Euros per patient living at home and 6,086 Euros per patient living in nursing homes. For the whole demented population (based on EuroCoDe data) we estimated total annual costs of 846.8 million Euros; of which 55% are direct costs, 9% indirect costs and 36% informal care cost. Compared to acute myocardial infarction the total disease burden of dementia is 26.3 times greater. Conclusions This is the first study investigating resource utilisation, costs, and quality of life of dementia patients in the Central and Eastern European region. Compared to the general population of Hungary EQ-5D values of the demented patients are lower in all age groups. Dementia related costs are much lower in Hungary compared to Western European countries. There is no remarkable difference between the costs of demented patients living at home and in nursing homes, from the societal point of view
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