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J Am Geriatr Soc. 2004 Oct;52(10):1618-25.

The Maryland Assisted Living Study: prevalence, recognition, and treatment of dementia and other psychiatric disorders in the assisted living population of central Maryland.

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Division of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neuropsychiatry, John Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21287, USA.



To obtain a direct estimate of the prevalence of dementia and other psychiatric disorders in residents of assisted living (AL) in Central Maryland, and their rates of recognition and treatment.


Comprehensive review of history and cognitive and neuropsychiatric evaluations using widely accepted instruments in a randomized cohort of AL residents, stratified by facility size. An expert multidisciplinary consensus panel determined diagnoses and appropriateness of treatment.


Twenty-two (10 large and 12 small) randomly selected AL facilities in the city of Baltimore and seven Maryland counties.


One hundred ninety-eight volunteers who were residents of AL, 75% were aged 80 and older, and 78% were female. Potential participants were randomly chosen by room number. There was a 67% participation rate.


Overall rate of dementia, noncognitive active psychiatric disorders, and recognition and adequate treatment of dementia and psychiatric disorders, as determined by consensus panel.


Two-thirds (67.7%) of participants had dementia diagnosable according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (81% small facilities and 63% large). Family or caregivers recognized 78% to 80% of dementias. Seventy-three percent of dementias were adequately evaluated, and 52% were adequately treated. Of the 26.3% of participants who had an active noncognitive psychiatric disorder, 58% to 61% were recognized and 52% adequately treated.


Dementia and psychiatric disorders are common in AL and have suboptimal rates of recognition and treatment. This may contribute to morbidity and interfere with the ability of residents to age in place.

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