Naturalistic Study Shows Need To Improve Dementia Care

Published Aug 17, 2012
Munich & Erlangen, Germany –In many ageing societies, the prevalence of dementia is increasing as are related health care needs and cost. To improve the effectiveness and efficiency of care, novel strategies are needed. A key point is to postpone institutionalization of dementia patients. For community-living dementia patients, family members and general practitioners are those who are primarily responsible for support and health care. Therefore, the German IDA study investigated the effects of a complex intervention including training of general practitioners and actively approaching counseling of family caregivers in a naturalistic setting. Over a period of four years, this study investigated the impact of three management strategies in 390 dementia patients treated in general practices. Results of this cluster randomized trial are detailed in the article, “Dementia care in the general practice setting: a cluster randomized trial on the effectiveness and cost impact of three management strategies” published in Value in Health. No significant differences between the three management strategies were found with respect to institutionalization and secondary endpoints such as patients’ activities of daily living and caregiver burden. Professor Elmar Gräßel, principal clinical investigator of the study, comments, ”These unexpected results in a large study with high methodological standard show that several obstacles may exist which prevent potentially helpful interventions to yield expected impact under routine care conditions. Care strategies must thus be individualized to find the best offer for each family. This and the careful choice of the time point for intervention seem important factors in further developing dementia care”.

Value in Health (ISSN 1098-3015) publishes papers, concepts, and ideas that advance the field of pharmacoeconomics and outcomes research as well as policy papers to help health care leaders make evidence-based decisions. The journal is published bi-monthly and has over 8,000 subscribers (clinicians, decision makers, and researchers worldwide).

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