Johns Hopkins Study: Ways To Keep People with Dementia in Own Homes Longer
Findings presented to public on Thursday, Oct. 11
In hopes of finding better and more cost-effective ways to deal with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, a new system of caring for people with dementia in their own homes could delay when they would need to move into nursing homes.
In an 18-month Maximizing Independence at Home (MIND) study, conducted by Johns Hopkins University (JHU) School of Medicine’s Division of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neuropsychiatry, JHU discovered that a dementia care coordinator could increase the amount of time dementia care patients are able to live in their homes.
The results and impact of this study will be discussed at an upcoming presentation on Thursday, October 11, 4-6 p.m. at the Weinberg Park Heights Jewish Community Center.
MIND at Home, supported by THE ASSOCIATED: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore through funding from local donors, looked at 303 individuals, 70 years and older with memory disorders, primarily dementia and mild cognitive impairment.
Of the 300 participants, 110 received assistance from a specially-trained dementia care coordinator. Participants were recruited from 28 north and northwest Baltimore zip codes.
The dementia care coordinators, who worked out of Jewish Community Services and Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center and Hospital, were brought into these elderly patients’ homes.
They checked for such things as home safety, nutrition and food availability, need for meaningful activities beyond watching television and personal safety such as the ability to drive a car.
They identified existing community resources to address any unmet needs.
Beyond such services, the program provided education about dementia and memory problems to caregivers and patients, as well as informal counseling and problem solving.
Legal issues such as advance directives and wills were discussed. The coordinators contacted the families at least once per month, and more frequently as necessary.
At the beginning of the study, the researchers found a wide range of unmet needs. Home and personal safety issues affected 90 percent of the study population.
Some 65 percent were in need of general medical care, 52 percent had a lack of meaningful activities and 48 percent needed legal/advance care planning.
At the end of the trial period, the researchers found that patients who met regularly with the dementia care coordinator were significantly less likely to leave their homes or die than those in the control group (30 percent versus 45.6 percent) and were able to remain in their home for significantly more time.
The study group had more of their needs met relative to the control group, most significantly in areas of safety and legal issues.
As the population in the United States ages, more and more individuals are being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, an estimated 5.4 million Americans have the debilitating illness in 2012 and payment for care is estimated to be $200 billion this year alone.
Based on the positive results of this study, moving forward, Johns Hopkins University and Jewish Community services, an agency of The Associated, are developing a partnership to deliver memory care services using the MIND at Home model. That will eventually save money and provide a chance for individuals to age with dignity longer in their homes.
To attend the MIND at Home presentation, register with Rivka Schwebel at 410-369-9253 or firstname.lastname@example.org.