Network's 'it takes a village' approach improves dementia care and informs research, study shows

November 19, 2012

The approach of the Indianapolis Discovery Network for Dementia—with contributions from family members, community advocates, health care systems and researchers—improves dementia care and informs dementia research, according to a new study by researchers from the Regenstrief Institute and the Indiana University Center for Aging Research.

"Collaborative —sensitive to local needs and concerns—combines of all those involved plus technology. Regular face-to-face meetings of caregivers, clinicians and researchers provide invaluable opportunities to balance human need and the flood of information as we develop and deliver new and innovative care," said Regenstrief Institute investigator Malaz Boustani, M.D., MPH, associate director of the IU Center for Aging Research and IU School of Medicine associate professor of medicine. The senior author of the new study in Clinical Interventions in Aging, a peer-reviewed, open-access online journal, Dr. Boustani is founding director of the Indianapolis Discovery Network for Dementia and sees patients at the Wishard Healthy Center.

IDND's interdisciplinary open-source think-tank implementation of innovations short circuits the lengthy—typically 17-years, according to Dr. Boustani—research-to-practice timeline, bringing concepts that improve dementia care to patients in a fraction of that time. This "discovery-to-delivery" approach evolves to meet the changing needs of those it serves.

For example, IDND's Anticholinergic Cognitive Burden Scale, which evaluates the effects of common over-the-counter and prescription drugs on the aging brain, was developed, tested and put into clinical practice within four years. The Healthy Aging Brain Care Monitor, a "blood pressure cuff" for dementia put into patient care within two years of development, functions as a screening, diagnostic and management tool. Both tools are now in worldwide use.

IDND works to halt inappropriate or "bad" medicine; counsel and support families; reduce the cost of care by avoiding unnecessary emergency room visits and hospitalizations; and decreasing the likelihood of long-term care.

"Discovering and testing effective solutions for people with dementia is not enough," Dr. Boustani said. "IDND creates a platform that can be adapted to any locality to disseminate, implement and translate discoveries into practice that will work there—whether a metropolitan area with large, competing health systems like Indianapolis or a totally different environment. Solutions must be localized to be effective, and they can be. Highly competitive organizations like banks collaborate every day to make financial transactions seamless; diverse health care systems surely can find ways to collaborate to improve lives."

A geriatrician, Dr. Boustani focuses on rapid translation of aging brain research discovery into health care delivery using the lens of complexity science, the tools of medical informatics and the methods of public health epidemiology.

IDND resources are available without charge on the network's website at http://www.indydiscoverynetwork.org/.

"As a geriatrician in community practice, the majority of my patients have dementia. Our close linkage with the researchers at the University through IDND has allowed me to utilize newly developed clinically useful tools early in their development and to provide feedback on their applicability to my patient population," said Patrick Healey, M.D., St. Vincent Health Network.

"The IDND offers a model of collaboration that communities across the country can use to rapidly improve the quality of life for people with dementia and their families. More generally, this is a framework that foundations, government agencies, and organizations can support to ensure the relevance and real-world application of scientific research," said Marcus R. Escobedo, MPA, John A. Hartford Foundation program officer. The foundation is America's leading philanthropy with a sustained interest in aging and health.

Explore further: Regenstrief extending successful aging brain care model globally

More information: The article can be found at www.dovepress.com/articles.php?article_id=11537

Related Stories

Regenstrief extending successful aging brain care model globally

May 2, 2012
The resources developed for an innovative collaborative model of dementia care, which reduces emergency room and hospital visits and improves the quality of care for those with dementia, are now available to institutions, ...

Dementia care model that reduces hospitalizations successfully translated into practice

May 31, 2012
An innovative model of dementia care that significantly reduces emergency department visits and hospitalizations, and encourages use of medications that are not harmful to older brains, has now been used to treat over 1,000 ...

Free, user-friendly 'blood pressure cuff' for dementia is reliable and valid: research

June 14, 2012
A new study shows that a practical clinical tool developed by researchers from the Regenstrief Institute and the Indiana University School of Medicine to measure severity of dementia symptoms is reliable and valid. The Healthy ...

Study: Willingness to be screened for dementia varies by age but not by sex, race or income

June 19, 2012
The first study to examine the actual willingness of older adults to be screened for dementia has found that acceptance of screening is pervasive, although it varies by age. However, willingness to be screened for dementia ...

Recommended for you

Lifestyle changes to stave off Alzheimer's? Hints, no proof

July 20, 2017
There are no proven ways to stave off Alzheimer's, but a new report raises the prospect that avoiding nine key risks starting in childhood just might delay or even prevent about a third of dementia cases around the world.

Blood test identifies key Alzheimer's marker

July 19, 2017
A new study led by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggests that measures of amyloid beta in the blood have the potential to help identify people with altered levels of amyloid in their ...

Steering an enzyme's 'scissors' shows potential for stopping Alzheimer's disease

July 19, 2017
The old real estate adage about "location, location, location" might also apply to the biochemical genesis of Alzheimer's disease, according to new research from the University of British Columbia.

Brain scans may change care for some people with memory loss

July 19, 2017
Does it really take an expensive brain scan to diagnose Alzheimer's? Not everybody needs one but new research suggests that for a surprising number of patients whose memory problems are hard to pin down, PET scans may lead ...

Can poor sleep boost odds for Alzheimer's?

July 18, 2017
(HealthDay)— Breathing problems during sleep may signal an increased risk for Alzheimer's disease, a trio of studies suggests.

Hearing is believing: Speech may be a clue to mental decline

July 17, 2017
Your speech may, um, help reveal if you're uh ... developing thinking problems. More pauses, filler words and other verbal changes might be an early sign of mental decline, which can lead to Alzheimer's disease, a study suggests.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.