Last updated on February 2019

Optimizing Care for Patients With Dementia

Brief description of study

Of the 1.4 million nursing home (NH) residents in long term care facilities, more than half have Alzheimer's disease or dementia. Due to changes in their familiar daily routines, difficulty expressing their thoughts or asking for what they need, and overstimulation (such as noise) or under stimulation (such as lack of activity), individuals with dementia often display disruptive behaviors like resisting help or continually repeating the same phrases. Medications are often prescribed to reduce agitation and aggressive behavior; however, these medications may not be effective and can have a negative impact on the individual. Therefore, families and other stakeholders strongly advocate the use of other types of approaches that focus on minimizing the cause of the behavior. Two facility-based methodologies include the transdisciplinary approach for integrated dementia care, which combines the expertise of all NH staff, who work together to build a common language and approach for each resident, and the multidisciplinary approach for problem-based dementia care, in which each staff member conducts individual assessments and makes discipline-specific recommendations. While prior research suggests that both of these facility-based approaches are useful, the circumstances under which each approach is most effective are not clear. This project will prospectively randomize 80 nursing homes to one of the two treatment arms to compare the effect of the transdisciplinary approach versus the multidisciplinary approach.

This study will examine the difference between the two comparators with respect to facility rates of medications dispensed to residents with dementia, leading to enhanced quality of life for the resident.

This project is important because it will address a key clinical dilemma NH staff face as they strive to optimize the use of alternative approaches to reduce disruptive behaviors in residents with dementia. Transforming the quality of dementia care in NHs and enhancing the quality of life of residents with dementia are high priorities for families and other advocates.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT03442322

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University of Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh, PA United States
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