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AHRQ's Healthcare Innovations Exchange Focuses on Supporting Caregivers of Patients With Dementia

The March issue of AHRQ's Healthcare Innovations Exchange features three programs that used innovative strategies to support caregivers of patients with dementia. One of the profiles describes a program that uses trained consultants throughout the state of North Dakota who conduct in-depth initial assessments with caregivers of dementia patients. The assessments offer caregivers emotional support, education about the typical progression pattern for dementia, and referrals to local support services. The consultant and the caregiver then work together to develop a specific care plan that will help support the caregiver and their patient. Afterward, the consultant provides ongoing support through follow-up conversations. By alleviating the burden on caregivers, the program has reduced the need for costly medical services for patients and placement in long-term care facilities. These reductions have generated an estimated $40 million in savings across the state, primarily due to the reductions in likelihood of long-term care.

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New AMA, CDC Initiative Aims to "Prevent Diabetes STAT"

With more than 86 million Americans living with prediabetes and nearly 90% of them unaware of it, the American Medical Association (AMA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today announced that they have joined forces to take urgent action to prevent diabetes and are urging others to join in this critical effort. Prevent DiabetesSTAT: Screen,Test,Act -Today, is a multiyear initiative that expands on the robust work each organization has already begun to reach more Americans with prediabetes and stop the progression to Type 2 diabetes, one of the nation's most debilitating chronic diseases. Through this initiative, the AMA and CDC are sounding an alarm and shining a light on prediabetes as a critical and serious medical condition.

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People with prediabetes have higher-than-normal blood glucose levels but not high enough yet to be considered Type 2 diabetes. Research shows that 15% to 30% of overweight people with prediabetes will develop Type 2 diabetes within 5 years unless they lose weight through healthy eating and increased physical activity.


As an immediate result of this partnership, the AMA and CDC have codeveloped a toolkit to serve as a guide for physicians and other healthcare providers on the best methods to screen and refer high-risk patients to diabetes prevention programs in their communities. The toolkit along with additional information on how physicians and other key stakeholders can Prevent Diabetes STAT is available at online.


Secondhand Smoke

From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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58 million


One in four nonsmokers (58 million people) in the United States is still exposed to secondhand smoke (SHS).


2 in 5


About 2 in every 5 children (including 7 in 10 Black children) are exposed to SHS.


1 in 3


More than one in three nonsmokers who live in rental housing are exposed to SHS.


No level of SHS exposure is safe. SHS exposure occurs when nonsmokers breathe in smoke exhaled by smokers or from burning tobacco products. It kills more than 400 infants and 41,000 adult nonsmokers* every year. Exposure to SHS among U.S. nonsmokers has declined, but progress has not been the same for everyone. SHS exposure is more common among children ages 3 to 11 years, Blacks, people living below the poverty level, and those who rent housing.


State and city officials can help protect children and adult nonsmokers from SHS in the places they live, visit, and work by using proven methods to eliminate smoking in:


* Indoor areas of all public places such as restaurants, bars, casinos, and other private worksites.


* Multiunit housing such as apartments, condominiums, and government-funded housing.



*Infant deaths due to SHS-related sudden infant death syndrome. Deaths among nonsmoking adults due to SHS-related lung cancer and heart disease.


FDA Warning

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning that the prescription smoking cessation medicine Chantix (varenicline) can change the way people react to alcohol. Interactions between alcohol and Chantix have resulted in some patients experiencing increased intoxicating effects of alcohol, sometimes associated with aggressive behavior and/or amnesia. In addition, rare accounts of seizures in patients treated with Chantix have been reported. FDA has approved changes to the Chantix label to warn about these risks. Refer to the Drug Safety Communication for a detailed data summary.


AHRQ Study Finds No Awareness of Home Healthcare Agency Quality Reports

Despite state and federal efforts in publishing quality and satisfaction ratings designed to assist consumers when choosing healthcare providers, a recent Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)-funded study found no awareness of the existence of such reports on home healthcare agencies. This study examined how patients selected a home healthcare agency for care following hospital discharge. The study and abstract, "A Qualitative Study of Choosing Home Health Care After Hospitalization: The Unintended Consequences of 'Patient Choice' Requirements," appeared online on January 9 in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. Thirteen consumers and 28 case managers from five hospitals participating in the study were all unaware of existing state or Medicare home healthcare agency public reports, thereby limiting consumers' ability to make informed decisions and their case managers' ability to assist them. Case managers felt unable to respond to consumers' requests for help in choosing a home healthcare agency because they did not have additional information and feared violating federal laws concerning patient choice. Authors noted that public reports can be marketed as tools that case managers can use to help patients choose among providers, while supporting patient autonomy.

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