Monday, November 27, 2006

Caregivers of Persons with Dementia

From an NIH press release:

Novel Program Enhances Dementia Caregivers’ Quality of Life

EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE
Monday, November 20, 2006
5:00 p.m. ET

NIA Media Contacts:
Susan Farrer or Linda Joy
301-496-1752
nianews3@mail.nih.gov

NINR Media Contact:
Lanny Newman
301-496-0209
newmanl@mail.nih.gov

A multifaceted, personalized intervention can significantly improve the quality of life for caregivers of people with dementia, new research published Nov. 21, 2006, in Annals of Internal Medicine has found. The study, Resources for Enhancing Alzheimer’s Caregiver Health II (REACH II), is the first randomized, controlled trial to look systematically at the effectiveness of a multi-component caregiver intervention provided to ethnically diverse populations. Follow-up studies, the researchers suggest, should examine how the intervention might be used in communities through the nation’s existing network of health and aging services.

REACH II was funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), both components of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The research was conducted at five sites nationwide — the University of Alabama (Birmingham and Tuscaloosa), Thomas Jefferson University (Philadelphia), the University of Tennessee (Memphis), the University of Miami (Fla.) and Stanford University (Palo Alto, Calif.). The University of Pittsburgh served as the coordinating center, and Pittsburgh’s Richard Schulz, Ph.D., was corresponding author for the study.

“Family members and friends provide most of the care for millions of people with dementia who live at home, often facing challenges that can seriously compromise their own quality of life,” notes NIA Director Richard J. Hodes, M.D. “REACH II tells us that a well-designed, tailored intervention can make a positive, meaningful difference in caregivers’ lives.”

“This important research demonstrates that the intervention can readily benefit the diverse communities of caretakers who provide care to individuals with Alzheimer’s disease,” adds NINR Director Dr. Patricia A. Grady. “It also underscores the substantial cost that caregivers face — financially, physically, spiritually and emotionally — and helps to illustrate why caregiving research is a priority for NINR and NIA.”

The REACH II study included 642 individuals, more than 200 each of Hispanic, white and African American caregivers of persons with dementia. The caregivers within each ethnic/racial group were randomly assigned to either an intervention or a control group.

Trained project staff visited the caregivers in the intervention group at home nine times, talked with them during three half-hour telephone calls, and offered five structured telephone support sessions. The strategies included information sharing, instruction, role playing, problem solving, skills training, stress-management techniques and telephone support groups. Those in the control group received a packet of dementia education materials and two brief “check-in” telephone calls. Spanish-language services and materials were offered to the Spanish-speaking caregivers in Miami, Palo Alto and Philadelphia.

[ ... Read the full press release ... ]

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Anthony H. Risser | |

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