Most dementia patients in Israel are cared for by non‐psychiatric services. Psychiatric hospitals are generally reluctant to admit behaviourally disturbed dementia patients, unless it is for appropriate psychiatric reasons and for a transient period of time. We used national Psychiatric Case Register (PCR) data to examine the implementation of these criteria in a sample of 711 dementia patients (senile and arteriosclerotic). Results suggest that: (a) in about a third of senile patients and in nearly half of arteriosclerotics no primarily treatable, psychiatric symptoma‐tology was diagnosed; (b)most admissions were not on a psychiatric emergency basis; (c)inpatient stay of dementia patients was longer than the average psychiatric admission. These patients were usually transferred to a non psychiatric facility or to a general hospital, or died in the psychiatric hospital. We conclude that the subject of psychiatric hospitalization of dementia patients in Israel needs substantial revision.