Nearly All Dementia Patients Being Shortchanged During Home Care

Arman Zhenikeyev/Thinkstock(BALTIMORE) -- Many Americans suffering from Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia aren't getting the right treatment at home, according to Johns Hopkins researchers.

Failure to focus on their particular needs could force caregivers to seek help outside the home in spite of wanting to keep loved ones in a familiar environment.

The researchers looked at 250 people with dementia living at home in Baltimore and discovered from interviews with an equal number of caregivers that one or more needs were unmet in virtually all situations, including such simple things as not supplying bathroom grab bars to help the infirm onto the toilet or into the shower.

Study leader Betty Black says that 99 percent of patients suffering from dementia had at least one unmet need in areas that included safety, health, meaningful activities, legal issues and estate planning, assistance with activities of daily living, and medication management, according to the December issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Just over six in ten patients were also deficient in medical care either related to or apart from dementia, perhaps the most serious issue of all since "earlier care could prevent hospitalizations, improve quality of life and lower the costs of care at the same time," Black said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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