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Northwestern University: Improving emergency care for people with dementia | India Education | Latest Education News | World Education News


A new collection of research papers from Northwestern University and collaborating institutions outlines priority areas for providing better emergency care for people with dementia in the United States.

Some areas include discharging patients with dementia home earlier and creating quieter, calmer spaces within the emergency department to assess patients with dementia.

Older adults, especially those living with dementia, are at risk for poor outcomes such as delirium in the emergency department.

Dr. Scott Dresden
Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine
“The emergency department is a challenging environment for people with dementia,” said Dr. Scott Dresden, associate professor of emergency medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and corresponding author on one of the articles in the recently published collection. “It’s loud, bright and fast, and communication with patients and their families, friends or caregivers isn’t always as good as it should be.”
The new collection of research articles and an accompanying editorial were recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association.

Although dementia has a significant impact on people’s health and health care needs, it often goes unnoticed and untreated in the emergency department, Dresden said. As the number of people with dementia in the United States increases rapidly due to the aging population, understanding emergency care for people with dementia will be even more important.

“Older people, especially those with dementia, are at risk for poor outcomes, such as developing delirium in the emergency room,” Dresden said. “This review is important because it demonstrates that there is little research on how best to provide emergency care to these vulnerable patients.”

Dresden and his co-authors said they were encouraged by the results of small studies that suggest emergency department programs that create a calmer, quieter space, perform specific assessments, or even provide hospital care at home all improve outcomes for people with dementia.

Areas for improvement include getting patients home, communication between patients and doctors, quieter and calmer spaces in the emergency department

The collection of recently published articles is the culmination of the work of the Geriatric Emergency Care Applied Research (GEAR) Network 2.0 – Advancing Dementia Care research collaboration.
The GEAR Network is led by a team from Northwestern, the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Yale University School of Medicine, and the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine. Washington University in St. Louis.

The research team, made possible by funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and joined by people with dementia, their care partners and advocates, began in 2020 to examine gaps in care and assess previous research efforts in health care settings across the country. . The team identified three research gaps:

A limited amount of research on dementia care in emergency departments
Inadequate reporting on diversity, equity and inclusion related to dementia care in emergency departments
A need to balance inspiration with pragmatism to advance concrete and impactful solutions in emergency services
The researchers identified specific areas of interest for future study, including better recognition of dementia-related cognitive impairment by urgent care providers, better discharge of cognitively impaired patients to their homes, improving communication strategies between emergency care providers and patients with dementia and improving the care provided. to this population while in the emergency department.

“Unrecognized dementia can lead to substandard care, safety risks and worse patient outcomes,” said Dr. Manish Shah, professor of emergency medicine at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. , and emergency physician at UW Health, who co-led the research team that developed the recommendations. “The goal of this work is to identify the areas of urgent care for people with dementia that most need to be studied, and then address those issues.”

The team is committed to addressing and facilitating progress in each area of ​​focus identified in the research, said Dr. Ula Hwang, professor of emergency medicine at Yale University, who co-led the Research Team.

With its funding from the NIH, the GEAR team will award grants to health systems and academic medical centers across the country to perform research studies that will lead to better models of urgent care for people with dementia. , she said.

“Ultimately, our goal is to build a system that makes our emergency departments as safe and efficient for our dementia patients as they are for anyone else,” Hwang said. “We are at the starting line and this work will help us reach the finish line.”


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