Most Dementia Patients Living at Home Have Unmet Needs
(HealthDay News) – Most individuals with dementia residing in the community – and their caregivers – have unmet needs, according to research published in the December issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
Betty S. Black, PhD, of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and colleagues conducted in-home assessments of 254 community-residing persons with dementia (PWD) and 246 informal caregivers to assess the prevalence and correlates of unmet needs in this population.
The researchers found that almost all PWD (99%) and their caregivers (97%) had at least one unmet need. Many PWD had unmet needs related to safety (90%), meaningful activities (more than half), and lack of prior evaluation or diagnosis (almost one-third). Among PWD, a higher level of unmet needs was significantly associated with non-white race, lower income, less impairment in activities of daily living, and more symptoms of depression. Among caregivers, a higher level of unmet needs was significantly associated with non-white race, less education, and more symptoms of depression.
"Providers should be aware that unmet needs may be higher in minority and low-income community residents, caregivers with lower education, and individuals with early-stage dementia," the authors write. "Identifying and treating symptoms of depression in PWD and caregivers may enable them to address their other unmet needs."
Several authors disclosed financial ties to biomedical and/or pharmaceutical companies.