The UCLA Division of Geriatrics received a five-year, $13.6 million award to compare dementia care delivered through a health system with care that occurs in a community-based setting, the university announced Monday.
Various approaches have been taken to manage the care of those with dementia, but there is not a consensus on which ones are the most effective. With an estimated 5.5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease, health care organizations must develop better ways to serve people with the disease and the family members who care for them, according to UCLA.
The award from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute will allow researchers to recruit 1,534 participants with dementia at four U.S. sites. They will receive 18 months of care in either a health system-based or community-based dementia care system.
Within a health system setting, dementia patient care is typically overseen by dementia care managers who have access to medical records, primary care physicians and consultants. Within a community-based system, care managers have ready access to community-based services to support caregivers and provide extensive training.
“Whether a care team working within the health system can do a better job than a community-based care manager in coordinating the health and social needs of persons with dementia and their families is a fundamental, unanswered question,” said Dr. David Reuben, chief of the UCLA Division of Geriatrics, who will lead the study.
The researchers will track measures such as the behavior of the patients and the effects on caregivers, such as distress and depression. They will also assess long-term nursing home placement and days spent at home at the end of the study. In addition, patients and caregivers will be asked to identify their most important goal and assess their progress toward meeting it.