AAIC: Care Coordination Ups Care of Dementia Patients at Home

Intervention improves quality of life, safety issues in dementia patients living at home

THURSDAY, July 19 (HealthDay News) -- Care coordination improves quality of care and quality of life in dementia patients living at home, according to a study presented at the annual Alzheimer's Association International Conference, held from July 14 to 19 in Vancouver, Canada.

Quincy Miles Samus, Ph.D., from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and colleagues conducted an 18-month controlled trial of 303 elderly people aged 70 years or older with cognitive disorders (265 with dementia; 38 with mild cognitive impairment) living at home. Participants were randomized to receive the care coordination intervention or augmented usual care. The intervention included needs assessment, community resource referrals, memory disorder education, and counseling provided by paraprofessionals specially trained in evidence-based dementia care, a psychiatric nurse, and a geriatric psychiatrist.

The researchers found that the intervention group had a greater decrease in total percent unmet needs from baseline to 18 months compared with the control group, with significant reductions in safety and legal issues. Compared with controls, intervention participants were less likely to permanently leave their home or die (30.0 versus 45.6 percent) and had a significant reduction in time to leaving the home for any reason. At 18 months, the intervention group self-reported better quality of life. There were no differences between the groups on proxy-rated quality of life, neuropsychiatric symptoms, or depression.

"Our study provides promising preliminary evidence that the intervention can promote the ability to age in place and improve care quality," Samus said in a statement. "We are hopeful this study will help guide how community-based dementia care can be effectively and efficiently delivered in the future."

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