Hospice Program Provides Counseling for End-Stage Dementia
The Hospice Foundation of America ( http://hospicefoundation.org) has developed “Alzheimer’s Disease and Hospice Care,” a free online webinar that examines how hospice care can support patients and families coping with end-stage Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
The webinar discusses the effects of advanced Alzheimer’s disease and how family, professionals, and volunteers can manage the demands of caring for someone with end-stage dementia. The program also looks at the specialized care and education that hospice offers to people with Alzheimer’s and their families—offering vital management of pain and other symptoms, emotional and spiritual support to cope with the many losses associated with advanced dementia, and compassionate guidance in assisting families with difficult decision making that is often conducted without the patient’s input. In addition to the program, resources and fact sheets are available at no charge. Free continuing education credits are also available for a wide range of professionals.
This program is part of the Hospice Foundation of America’s Hospice Information Center, an extensive online library that also includes programs such as Understanding Hospice, Family Caregiving, and Coping with Cancer at the End of Life. The programming provides hospices and other community organizations the opportunity to educate staff and volunteers about the basics of hospice care, caregiving, and grief.
Source. “New Hospice Foundation of America Program Focuses on Alzheimer’s Disease and Hospice Care.” (2011, May 2). Retrieved June 23, 2011, from http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/new-hospice-foundation-of-america-program-focuses-on-alzheimers-disease-and-hospice-care-121084299.html.
Mental Wellness Toolkit Focuses on Senior Living Communities
A new toolkit developed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is now available to help those working with older Americans living in senior living communities promote good emotional health and prevent suicides. It includes guidelines for integrating suicide prevention into the existing programs and policies of senior living communities. The materials—useful not only for senior living community staff, but for residents and their families as well—include:
- A comprehensive guide on getting started, suggested goals, and action steps, as well as useful tools.
- An annotated resource list.
- Three training manuals for workshops, including PowerPoint ® slides and scripts—two for staff and one for residents and family members.
- Fact sheets for residents and family members.
The product, Promoting Emotional Health and Preventing Suicide: A Toolkit for Senior Living Communities, is available for free download at http://store.samhsa.gov/product/SMA10-4515.
Source. “New Tool Kit Available to Help Prevent Suicides in Senior Living Communities.” (2011, May 23). Retrieved June 22, 2011, from http://www.samhsa.gov/newsroom/advisories/1105233324.aspx.
Yoga Classes Improve Balance in Stroke Victims
A modified yoga class for older veterans recovering from stroke produced promising results when researchers explored whether the popular mind-body practice could help stroke survivors cope with their increased risk for falls.
The pilot study, the findings of which were presented at the American College of Sports Medicine meeting in June, involved 19 men and 1 woman (mean age = 66). For 8 weeks, they participated in a twice weekly hour-long group yoga class taught by a yoga therapist who dramatically modified the poses for the veterans.
The participants initially performed the poses while seated in chairs, then progressed to seated and standing poses, eventually all performing the poses on the floor.
A range of balance items measured by the Berg Balance Scale and Fullerton Advance Balance Scale improved by 17% and 34%, respectively, by the end of the program. The study also indicated a measurable gain in confidence in the participants’ balance.
A score of less than 46 on the Berg Balance Scale indicates a fall risk. The study participants began with an average score of 40 and then improved to 47, moving them past the fall-risk threshold. The participants also showed significant improvements in endurance, based on a seated 2-minute step test and a 6-minute walk test.
Many of the veterans wanted the study to continue or asked for a take-home exercise plan so they could continue the practice, stating that they enjoyed the study because it continued rehabilitation and improvement even after their standard treatment had been completed.
The researchers noted that the yoga performed in their study was modified to the extent that it would be very difficult to find a comparable class offered publicly. Such a class should be taught by a yoga therapist who has had additional training in anatomy and physiology and how to work with people with disabilities.
Source. “Yoga Helped Older Stroke Victims Improve Balance, Endurance.” (2011, June 3). Retrieved June 23, 2011, from http://medicalxpress.com/news/2011-06-yoga-older-victims.html.
Treatment Decreases Mortality in Older Sleep Apnea Patients
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) effectively decreases the risk of cardiovascular death in older patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), according to a study conducted by researchers in Spain and discussed at the American Thoracic Society’s international conference in May.
Past research has found CPAP to be a very effective treatment for severe and symptomatic forms of sleep apnea, but almost all studies on the effectiveness of CPAP have been conducted with middle-aged individuals. This is the first large-scale study to assess the effect of OSA and the effectiveness of CPAP treatment in cardiovascular mortality in older adults.
The study examined 939 older patients referred with suspected sleep apnea between 1999 and 2007, and followed these patients through 2009. Patients were divided into four groups: a control group of patients without OSA; mild to moderate OSA patients without CPAP treatment; patients with severe OSA without CPAP treatment; and patients with any degree of OSA who received CPAP treatment. Complete health histories, including cardiovascular and respiratory data, were obtained from all patients at enrolment, and mortality causes were obtained from death certificates. Fatal cardiovascular events included sudden death, stroke, heart failure, cardiac arrhythmias, and ischemic heart disease. Median follow-up time was 69 months.
The researchers found that untreated severe OSA (but not untreated mild-moderate) was independently associated with all-cause and cardiovascular mortality, as well as stroke and heart failure mortality, but not with ischemic heart disease mortality. In addition, they found that CPAP treatment reduced these increased risks of mortality in OSA patients to levels similar to those found in patients without disease or with mild to moderate cases.
Source. “CPAP Decreases Cardiovascular Mortality in Elderly Patients.” (2011, May 15). Retrieved June 23, 2011, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110515122459.htm.
Alzheimer’s Patients Without Memory Loss Often Misdiagnosed
A new study published in Neurology suggests more than half of people who develop Alzheimer’s disease before age 60 are initially misdiagnosed as having other kinds of brain disease when they do not have memory problems.
For the study, researchers reviewed the cases of 40 people from the Neurological Tissue Bank at the University of Barcelona whose brains showed during autopsy that they had Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers also reviewed information about the age at which the symptoms began and family history.
The study found that approximately 38% of people with confirmed early-onset Alzheimer’s disease showed symptoms other than memory problems, such as behavioral, visual, or language problems, as well as a decline in executive function. Approximately 53% of people with atypical symptoms and no memory problems were incorrectly diagnosed when first seen by a physician, compared with 4% of those who had memory problems. These individuals were mainly diagnosed with other types of dementia. Of those with unusual initial symptoms, 47% were still incorrectly diagnosed at the time of their deaths.
Source. “Memory Problems Often Not Present in Middle-Aged People with Alzheimer’s Disease.” (2011, May 17). Retrieved June 23, 2011, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110516161342.htm.