What Is the ICD-10 Code for Dementia?

Regardless of whether you are a general practitioner, a specialist, or another type of healthcare professional, there are countless conditions you might diagnose and treat among your clients. ICD-10 codes exist for these conditions, and you probably use them to categorize your notes. You may refer to these later when reviewing client files, determining appropriate treatment, and verifying that insurance reimbursements occur. One condition you might diagnose and treat in your clients is dementia. There are multiple forms of dementia, and that’s reflected in the fact that several ICD-10 codes are available for this condition.

What Are ICD-10 Codes?

ICD-10 is a system used in healthcare settings for coding and classifying symptoms, diagnoses, and procedures. The World Health Organization (WHO) primarily created the system, but the tailored U.S. version also involved work from the National Center for Health Statistics and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, respectively known as NCHS and CMS. 

The Tenth Revision of the International Classification of Diseases utilizes updated resources and training so that healthcare professionals can provide their clients with accurate treatment and information. Any organization covered by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, must use these codes.

Why Do Healthcare Professionals Use ICD-10 Codes?

Many professionals new to the healthcare industry wonder why ICD-10 codes are important. First of all, these codes help organize patient populations on a broad scale so that the industry at large can see how certain conditions happen and at what rate. On a more individual level, healthcare professionals can use these codes and the information associated with them to make educated decisions regarding the treatment of their clients.

How Do Insurance Companies Use ICD-10 Codes?

Healthcare professionals aren’t the only parties that use these codes as health insurance providers also use them. The ICD-10 system is more accurate with its diagnostic codes than previous code systems, improving client treatment and the preciseness of insurance coverage. 

Updated disease classifications and medical terminology help insurance providers know that they are reimbursing healthcare professionals for treatments and conditions that their policies cover. Payment efficiency is improved for both insurance companies and the providers they reimburse, and there are fewer billing errors throughout the entire healthcare industry.

Understanding Dementia

Even though dementia has an ICD-10 code classification, as many diseases do, it’s not a specific disease. Instead, dementia is a general term for people who have impairments in thinking, remembering, or making decisions, and these impairments interfere with their ability to go about daily life activities. The most common kind of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. Dementia impacts mostly older adults, and yet it’s not a normal part of the aging process. Normal aging might include vessels and arteries stiffening, bones and muscles weakening, and some forgetfulness, but long-term memory and language usually remain intact.

Three ICD Codes

Since dementia is not a specific disease but more of a category of related afflictions, you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that there are multiple codes that relate to the various forms of this condition. Three specific codes are often used when dealing with clients in your professional line of work within the healthcare industry.

F02.81: Dementia in Other Diseases Classified Elsewhere With Behavioral Disturbance

The first ICD-10 code for dementia that you should know about is F02.81, dementia in other diseases classified elsewhere with behavioral disturbance. This code is for cases of dementia produced by specific diseases, meaning dementia might be the second or subsequent diagnosis a client of yours receives. 

Many well-known diseases can cause dementia, including depression and Parkinson’s disease. Other conditions that might result in dementia or mimic the affliction include brain tumors, head injuries, thyroid complications, drug reactions, infections, and nutritional deficiencies.

F03.90: Unspecified Dementia Without Behavioral Disturbance

The second medical code for dementia that you should know is F03.90, which is designated for cases of unspecified dementia without behavioral disturbances. This diagnosis pertains to individuals presenting known symptoms and warning signs of dementia and who have a diagnosis of dementia but don’t have symptoms of behavioral issues. This kind of dementia happens much less frequently than forms of dementia that do have behavioral disturbances. 

Unspecified dementia is also called mixed or mild dementia. Many kinds of physical and mental conditions might be simultaneously present, and your client’s mild cognitive impairment might not fall into the criteria of any one type of dementia at the time of diagnosis. 

F03.91: Unspecified Dementia With Behavioral Disturbance

A client with unspecified dementia may have some behavioral disturbances, and these cases might fall under ICD-10 code F03.91. The associated behavioral disturbances can be drastic changes, and they might appear without warning. Potential changes could impact their mood, thoughts, perception, and behavior. These changes are more likely to happen in the middle or later stages of dementia, and they can happen in nearly every category or case of dementia. Most dementia patients suffer these changes, and they place a substantial burden on caregivers. 

Specific warning signs to watch for or ask caregivers about include lack of inhibition, accusatory behaviors, suspiciousness, hoarding, and urinary incontinence. In addition, inquire about excessive wandering, restlessness, and pacing. Psychological conditions to look out for include delusions, hallucinations, sleep disturbances, and depression.

The Prevalence and Spread of Dementia

Estimates suggest that someone in the world develops dementia 20 times per minute. More than 55 million people already have dementia, and this number is expected to double every two decades. Developing countries will see most of the growth because the elderly populations are growing fastest there. Still, your clients in the United States will likely see growth in this condition as the American population also trends older. 

Improved healthcare and nutrition are fueling rising life spans, but this comes with the need for growing awareness of afflictions such as dementia. It can happen in those under 65, but it’s most prevalent among the elderly. The economic impact of dementia in terms of global costs is already more than $1 trillion per year and is likely to be triple that in the next decade.

Symptoms of Dementia

Dementia symptoms impact people differently. Memory loss and difficulty concentrating are two persistent symptoms, and individuals might have trouble carrying out daily life tasks that should be otherwise familiar to them. They might have trouble figuring out the right change when they go shopping, struggle to find the words they are looking for in conversation, or even have a hard time following a conversation they are a part of. Some might even get confused about the time or not know where they are. Mood changes can also happen frequently. 

Before an official diagnosis of dementia, symptoms might start mild and gradually worsen over time. This process is known as mild cognitive impairment, or MCI. The onset of symptoms can be gradual enough that afflicted individuals and those around them don’t take them seriously. Some people develop mild symptoms but never get worse, although others with mild cognitive impairments wind up developing a diagnosed case of dementia.

Risk Factors of Dementia

Dementia has numerous causes and risk factors. As mentioned earlier, several conditions might result in dementia. Dementia runs in some families, and inherited cases might be more likely in people who show symptoms of dementia under the age of 50. Genetics aren’t the only risk factors for dementia as lifestyle and environmental elements also play their part. You and your clients should know that risk factors elevate the chances of dementia but don’t guarantee it will happen. 

Likewise, eliminating certain risk factors lowers the risk of dementia but doesn’t totally prevent it. Modifiable risk factors include high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, obesity, poor nutrition, lack of physical activity, depression, TBIs, and low activity involving cognitive engagement. Hearing loss, air pollution, and social isolation also seem to play roles in the development of dementia. Unavoidable risk factors include age, gender, and genetics.

Diagnosis of Dementia

Diagnosing dementia can only happen when a qualified healthcare professional recognizes specific patterns of functions and skills lost. That professional must also assess what a client can still do. Biomarkers are a recent development in the accurate diagnosis of some cases of dementia. Healthcare professionals conduct a physical exam along with a review of medical history, and someone close to the client might also be asked to offer insight. Several tests might need to happen to diagnose dementia, and they assess attention, language skills, reasoning, orientation, memory, and judgment. These tests might include neurological evaluations, brain scans, psychiatric evaluations, and laboratory tests.

Treatment of Dementia

There’s not currently a cure available for dementia, but there are numerous dementia treatments available. For example, prescription medications can help your clients manage their condition. Talk therapy has also proven useful for clients and caregivers when they can find support and discuss their feelings about their experiences. However, this is most effective for those in the earliest or middle stages of the condition. 

Alternative forms of medicine or therapy might help with managing specific symptoms, such as sleep issues. Symptom management is also possible through client-centered care that utilizes a personalized approach that caters to your client’s specific personality, history, interests, and abilities.

AutoNotes Makes Things Easy

Whether you have to develop treatment plans or generate DAP or SOAP notes, AI is a technology that can help you speed things up. At AutoNotes, we have an ongoing process of refining our product based on tangible metrics and user feedback, and we make sure your data goes through a deidentification process that keeps your clients’ personal health information secure. Your connection with AutoNotes has CloudFlare protection, and we only store data on HIPAA-compliant cloud platforms provided by Google. 

Use progress note templates, summarize your sessions, and edit and download your comprehensive clinical notes for every client you partner with. PDF formatting locks document content and makes printing and sharing easy to do. Harness the power of AI technology through AutoNotes so that you can spend less time generating documentation and more time focusing on your clients in your specific healthcare setting.