Alzheimer's Association issues new guidance for dementia care in nursing homes

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The Alzheimer's Association Thursday published new recommendations meant to shape dementia care practice at nursing homes, assisted living facilities and other long-term care and community care providers.

The recommendations, posted online and to be published as a supplement to the February issue of The Gerontologist, outline 56 recommendations across 10 content areas.

By age 80, 75% of people with Alzheimer's are admitted to a nursing home. The new recommendations are aimed at guiding person-centered care in those settings and reflect an expert panel's interpretation of current evidence and best practices.

Among the new guidance are tips for community-based and residential care providers on detecting, diagnosing and medically managing patients — topic areas typically reserved for clinicians. Recommendations in these two areas are written specifically for non-physician care providers and address what these providers can do to help with these important aspects of holistic, person-centered dementia care.

"Detection and diagnosis, and medical management are critical, vital areas of care,” Sam Fazio, Ph.D., lead author and Director of Quality Care and Psychosocial Research, Alzheimer's Association, in a press release. “While clinicians must continue to take a lead role in these areas, there are important contributions dementia care providers can make to improve outcomes in these areas…. Having both groups focus on these critical areas will result in better care for people struggling with this disease."

Other covered topics include: assessment and care planning; information, education and support; ongoing care for behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia; support of activities in daily living; staffing; supportive and therapeutic environments; transitions and coordination of services.

The Alzheimer's Association will share the recommendations with policymakers and the dementia care community formally during a Capitol Hill event on February 14.

A companion report, A Guide to Quality Care from the Perspectives of People Living with Dementia, includes survey data and interviews from individuals living in the early stage of Alzheimer's or other dementias.