Study explores dementia, advanced care

Share this content:

Researchers at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis are working with nursing homes to develop a program that provides advance care-planning for patients with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.

The multistate project aims to integrate advance care planning into the day-to-day workflow of about 200 nursing homes.

The goal is to develop and evaluate decision-making supports in the clinical setting, rather than through a tightly controlled research trial, said Susan Hickman, Ph.D., an Indiana University School of Nursing professor.

The effort is being funded by a $400,000 grant from the National Institute on Aging and could be followed by a $3 million second phase if pilot testing is successful.

Staff will work with residents and family members to identify the goals and values around issues such as hospital transfers and life support.

The need for advance care planning is particularly apparent in nursing home settings where a majority of people have cognitive impairment, said Kathleen Unroe, M.D., co-author and associate professor at Indiana University School of Medicine.