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2012 Grants - Boltz
A Family-Nurse Partnership for Care of Hospitalized Persons With Dementia
Marie Boltz, Ph.D.
New York University
New York, New York
2012 New Investigator Research Grant
As people with dementia age and their disease progresses, they often require hospitalization. Yet many hospitals do not provide these individuals with adequate care or quality of life. Such institutions may not have systems that can adequately assess an individual's cognitive or functional ability. Hospital workers may be inadequately trained to communicate with the individual or their families. Moreover, certain hospital practices—including excessive bed rest and the use of medication to treat psychiatric problems—may exacerbate the person's disabilities. Studies have found that hospitalized people with dementia are more likely than other hospitalized persons to experience delirium and cognitive or functional decline. Thus they also end up using a greater than average share of hospital resources, and their caregivers experience greater than normal stress levels.
Marie Boltz, Ph.D., and colleagues plan to test an intervention that addresses many of the shortcomings of hospital dementia care. Called the Family-Centered Function Focused Care (FC-FFC) intervention, it aims to improve the training of hospital workers and the quality-of-life for people with dementia and their caregivers. Specifically, the researchers will develop targeted ways of making the hospital environment safer for its dementia patients and more conducive to physical and mental activity. They will also implement strategies for improving communication between hospital staff and family caregivers.
For this effort, Dr. Boltz and colleagues will recruit one hundred people with dementia and their family caregivers. These volunteers will be selected from two different hospitals. The investigators will also train nurses at each hospital to carry out the intervention. Participants with dementia will be assessed for physical function, incidence of delirium and the rate of re-hospitalization. The team will also assess caregiver strain and the quality of the relationship between caregivers and their charges. If the results of this study are promising, the researchers plan to test the effectiveness of FC-FCC in a larger trial.