Most dementia people living at home have multiple unmet health and welfare needs

Published on December 20, 2013 at 1:36 AM · No Comments

Study reports substantial unmet needs for patients and caregivers alike

Most people with dementia who live at home have multiple unmet health and welfare needs, any number of which could jeopardize their ability to remain home for as long as they desire, new Johns Hopkins research suggests.

The researchers say routine assessments of patient and caregiver care needs coupled with simple fixes in the areas of safety - grab bars in the bathroom, carpets safely tacked down to prevent falls, guns locked away - and basic medical and supportive services could go a long way toward keeping those with dementia from ending up in a nursing or assisted-living facility.

"Currently, we can't cure their dementia, but we know there are things that, if done systematically, can keep people with dementia at home longer," says study leader Betty S. Black, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. "But our study shows that without some intervention, the risks for many can be quite serious."

Previous research has shown that greater unmet needs among people with dementia are predictive of nursing home placement and death. Caregiver stress also foretells of nursing home admission for people with dementia. The new study, described in the December issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, also finds most caregivers have multiple unmet needs, including lack of access to resources and referrals to support services and education about how to best care for their loved one.

Black says that paying for needs assessments and putting into place preventive safety measures isn't always feasible, and programs like Medicare don't typically cover them. "If they did," she says, "it may be far more cost-effective than long-term nursing home care."

An estimated 5.4 million people in the United States have Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia, and 70 percent are cared for in the community by family members and friends. Most have mild to moderate dementia.

For the study, Black and her colleagues performed in-home assessments and surveys of 254 people with dementia living at home in Baltimore and also interviewed 246 of their informal, non-professional caregivers. They found that 99 percent of people with dementia and 97 percent of their caregivers had one or more unmet needs. Ninety percent were safety-related. More than half of the patients had inadequate meaningful daily activities at a senior center or at home, and one-third still needed a dementia evaluation or diagnosis.

Read in | English | Español | Français | Deutsch | Português | Italiano | 日本語 | 한국어 | 简体中文 | 繁體中文 | Nederlands | Русский | Svenska | Polski
Comments
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News-Medical.Net.
Post a new comment
Post