Nav: Home

Caring for seniors with dementia and their caregivers: A guide for physicians

July 03, 2018

Podcast pre-embargo link: https://soundcloud.com/cmajpodcasts/170920-view

Community-based health care providers, such as physicians, nurse practitioners and others, should be aware of services and resources to help people living at home with dementia as well as their caregivers. A review in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) aims to provide guidance to health care providers as well as government and health system planners, based on recent evidence.

"All health care providers should be aware of their local resources for dementia and which services may be most beneficial for their patients and caregivers," writes Dr. Dallas Seitz, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, with coauthors. "Health system planners and policy-makers should be aware of services that have been shown to be beneficial for people and plan to meet the increasing demand for these services in the future."

In Canada, over 500 000 people are affected by dementia, and society spends $15 billion annually caring for this population.

Highlights of the review:
  • Early detection of dementia is an important first step for accessing services by proactively identifying people at risk (case finding) rather than through broad population screening programs. Identifying dementia early can relieve stress and uncertainty for patients and their caregivers and facilitate early connection to supports.

  • Evaluation for dementia should include patient history of cognitive and functional changes, medication review, cognitive screening tests, blood work and neuroimaging in some situations.

  • Community-based supports, such as in-home support services, caregiver education and training, respite programs and more, have been shown to delay admission to long-term care facilities.

  • Caregiver education programs and coordination of care have been effective at delaying placement in homes and are cost-effective.

  • Reducing caregiver stress is important for keeping people at home as long as possible.

  • Referral to dementia specialists may need to be selective, given the limited number of specialists and the increasing number of people with dementia. Referrals should be made when there is diagnostic uncertainty, marked change in a person's behaviour, challenges with medication and other complicating problems.

Some parts of Canada may currently have limited access to supports mentioned in the review.

"The identification and care of community-dwelling people with dementia and their caregivers is complex and will often involve multiple supports and services to optimize outcomes. Existing guideline recommendations for dementia and high-quality evidence underscore that community-level multicomponent supports, including caregiver education and training programs, some forms of respite programs and case management approaches for dementia, are effective in delaying admission to long-term care settings for older adults with dementia and reducing caregiver stress," the authors conclude.

"Care of community-dwelling older adults with dementia and their caregivers" is published July 3, 2018.
-end-


Canadian Medical Association Journal

Related Dementia Articles:

Digital solutions for dementia care
Telehealth delivery of dementia care in the home can be as effective as face-to-face home visit services if carers and recipients take advantage of the technologies available, Australian researchers say.
Despite a marked reduction in the prevalence of dementia, the number of people with dementia is set to double by 2050 according to new Alzheimer Europe report
Today, at a European Parliament lunch debate, Alzheimer Europe launched a new report presenting the findings of its collaborative analysis of recent prevalence studies and setting out updated prevalence rates for dementia in Europe.
Inflammatory marker linked to dementia
Higher levels of an inflammatory marker, sCD14, were associated with brain atrophy, cognitive decline and dementia in two large heart studies.
How likely do you think you are to develop dementia?
A poll suggests almost half of adults ages 50 to 64 believe they're likely to develop dementia.
Latest issue of Alzheimer's & Dementia
Predicting heart disease might also be a warning sign for Alzheimer's; A new way to think about the environment and Alzheimer's research; Most dementia patients don't receive care from physicians who specialize in brain health.
What multilingual nuns can tell us about dementia
A strong ability in languages may help reduce the risk of developing dementia, says a new University of Waterloo study.
Brain changes may help track dementia, even before diagnosis
Even before a dementia diagnosis, people with mild cognitive impairment may have different changes in the brain depending on what type of dementia they have, according to a study published in the September 11, 2019, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
Could marriage stave off dementia?
Dementia and marital status could be linked, according to a new Michigan State University study that found married people are less likely to experience dementia as they age.
Migraine diagnoses positively associated with all-cause dementia
Several studies have recently focused on the association between migraine headaches and other headaches and dementia and found a positive migraine-dementia relationship.
Apathy: The forgotten symptom of dementia
Apathy is the most common neuropsychiatric symptom of dementia, with a bigger impact on function than memory loss -- yet it is under-researched and often forgotten in care.
More Dementia News and Dementia Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Clint Smith
The killing of George Floyd by a police officer has sparked massive protests nationwide. This hour, writer and scholar Clint Smith reflects on this moment, through conversation, letters, and poetry.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dispatch 6: Strange Times
Covid has disrupted the most basic routines of our days and nights. But in the middle of a conversation about how to fight the virus, we find a place impervious to the stalled plans and frenetic demands of the outside world. It's a very different kind of front line, where urgent work means moving slow, and time is marked out in tiny pre-planned steps. Then, on a walk through the woods, we consider how the tempo of our lives affects our minds and discover how the beats of biology shape our bodies. This episode was produced with help from Molly Webster and Tracie Hunte. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.