Project: Research project

Project Details


Alzheimer Disease and related disorders are common among older adults attending primary care clinics. Unfortunately, many of these vulnerable older adults do not receive an adequate diagnosis, evaluation, education treatment, or long-term management. Also, primary care practices are rarely designed to provide education and support for the caregivers of patients with dementia. Fragmentation of care within the health care system and poor communication among the health care providers and between local social support agencies contribute to frustration, poorer outcomes, and increased costs. Indeed, primary care practitioners appear to have tremendous difficulty in delivering a systematic program of care for older adults with dementia. In our earlier studies, we found that nearly 1 in 6 patients over the age 60 attending a large primary care practice suffered from cognitive impairment. Unfortunately, 75 percent of the patients with moderate to severe cognitive impairment had not been diagnosed with a dementing disorder. Patients with moderate to severe cognitive impairment were more likely to be seen in the emergency room, more likely to be hospitalized, and more likely to die over the following year. Even controlling for the impact of comorbid conditions, cognitive impairment in these older adults was significantly associated with mortality after 5-7 years of follow-up. We are proposing a four-year randomized controlled clinical trial designed to test the efficacy of an Integrated Program of Collaborative Care as compared to usual care in improving the outcomes of care for older adults with Alzheimer Disease in a primary care setting. Although guidelines for the care of patients with Alzheimer Disease and related disorders have been published, there are no clinical trials that test the impact of close adherence to these guidelines on the outcomes of care for a group of vulnerable older adults in an urban primary care setting. We are hypothesizing that the integrated program of collaborative care, managed by a geriatric nurse practitioner who is empowered to facilitate published guidelines for care, will result in: a reduction in psychopathology and disruptive behavior among patients; a reduction in stress and depression among caregiver; a reduction in the use of skilled nursing home services; and an improvement in satisfaction with care. The study design will also allow us to describe the prevalence of dementing disorders and associated comorbidity in primary care and to measure utilization, costs, use of community services, and the costs associated with the intervention.
Effective start/end date8/1/017/31/06


  • National Institutes of Health
  • National Institutes of Health
  • National Institutes of Health
  • National Institutes of Health


  • Medicine(all)


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