The Alzheimer’s Association has released new dementia care practice recommendations aimed at helping nursing homes, assisted-living facilities and other long-term care and community care providers deliver optimal quality, person-centered care for those living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. The recommendations are as follows:
Alzheimer’s Association 2018 Dementia Care Practice Recommendations
Below are the 10 articles that cover the Alzheimer’s Association 2018 Dementia Care Practice Recommendations. These articles are published in the Supplemental Issue of The Gerontologist. Each article provides more detail about the specific recommendations, as well as the evidence and expert opinion supporting them. For an overview of all 56 recommendations in the articles:
The Alzheimer’s Association 2018 Dementia Care Practice Recommendations outline 56 recommendations across 10 content areas, grounded in the fundamentals of person-centered care. The Gerontologist devotes an article to each content area, providing evidence and expert opinion supporting each recommendation.
These recommendations were developed by 27 dementia care experts convened by the Alzheimer’s Association and are based on a comprehensive review of current evidence, best practice, and expert opinion. The recommendations seek to better define quality care across all care settings, and throughout the disease course. They are intended for professional care providers who work with individuals living with dementia and their families in long-term and community-based care settings.
“Since its inception, the Alzheimer’s Association has been a leader in outlining principles and practices of quality care for individuals living with dementia,” said Sam Fazio, PhD, lead author and director of quality care and psychosocial research at the Alzheimer’s Association. “These recommendations reflect the most current research and best practices to help ensure high-quality, person-centered care for people living with Alzheimer’s in long-term and community-based settings.”
It is estimated that nearly 60 percent of older adults with Alzheimer’s or other dementias reside in the community (outside a hospital or clinical setting). About 25 percent of these individuals live alone, but the remainder receives care from family members, unpaid caregivers, and community-based and residential care providers. By age 80, 75 percent of people with Alzheimer’s dementia are admitted to a nursing home. The new recommendations are aimed at guiding care in these settings.
In addition to updating and enhancing previous recommendations in areas familiar to the dementia care community, the recommendations break important new ground. Most notably, the recommendations offer guidance to community-based and residential care providers on detection and diagnosis and ongoing medical management — 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. 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,” Fazio said. “Our recommendations outline appropriate actions dementia care providers can make to complement and enhance the work clinicians are doing. Having both groups focus on these critical areas will result in better care for people struggling with this disease.”
There are an estimated 5.5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease today. It is the sixth-leading cause of death, and the only disease among the top 10 causes of death that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed. The number of Americans living with Alzheimer’s is projected to reach nearly 14 million by 2050, unless more effective treatments are advanced.
For more information on the recommendations, visit alz.org/practicerecommendations.