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Res Gerontol Nurs. 2014 May-Jun;7(3):126-37. doi: 10.3928/19404921-20140113-01. Epub 2014 Jan 21.

Results and lessons learned from a nurse practitioner-guided dementia care intervention for primary care patients and their family caregivers.

Abstract

Older adults with dementia care needs often visit primary care physicians (PCPs), but PCP dementia care limitations are widely documented. This study tested the value of employing a nurse practitioner (NP) with geropsychiatric expertise to augment PCP care for newly and recently diagnosed patients and family caregivers. Twenty-one dyads received the NP intervention; 10 dyads were controls. Outcomes included patient neuropsychiatric symptom and quality of life changes, and caregiver depression, burden, and self-efficacy changes. Intervention acceptability by patients, caregivers, and PCPs was determined. No outcome differences were found; however, the NP intervention was deemed highly satisfactory by all stakeholders. Patients experienced no significant cognitive decline during the 12-month study period, helping explain why outcomes did not change. Given widespread acceptability, future tests of this PCP-enhancing intervention should include patients with more progressive cognitive decline at study entry. NPs with geropsychiatric expertise are ideal interventionists for this rapidly growing target population.

Copyright 2014, SLACK Incorporated.

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