McLean Hospital’s Brent P. Forester, MD, MSc, is heading a new study of a training model to help primary care nurses better care for patients with dementia. Funded by a $54 million grant from the National Institute on Aging (NIA), the research effort is one of two pilot studies by the NIA’s IMPACT Collaboratory. IMPACT is an effort to improve the lives of dementia patients by conducting clinical trials within health care systems.
Forester, chief of McLean’s Division of Geriatric Psychiatry, said the study will involve nurses in the Mass General Brigham (MGB) system who are part of care teams treating medically complicated individuals with dementia. The nurses will receive condition-specific training. Forester said,
“We are going to modify existing training modules so that we can train nurses to be dementia care providers who can help with assessment, management, and coordination of care while providing support for family care partners.”
According to Forester, the idea for this study came about because the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease is rising. Only about half of the 5.8 million people in the U.S. with Alzheimer’s disease have been diagnosed. “What’s missing is an ability to intervene early to prevent some of the later-stage complications of dementia,” Forester stated.
“A number of models have been studied for identifying and coordinating care for people with dementia in primary care. Collaborative dementia care includes screening, assessment and disclosure of diagnosis, care planning, and supporting family members who are caring for patients at home.”