Holistic dementia care cuts costs

Feb. 12, 2011 at 12:03 AM   |   Comments

INDIANAPOLIS, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- Indiana University's memory care model -- holistic dementia care, which combines drug and non-drug interventions, could reduce costs, researchers say.

The model, as practiced at the Healthy Aging Brain Center, Wishard Health Services in Indianapolis takes a team approach focusing on patient and caregiver together.

Dr. Malaz Boustani of the Indiana University Center for Aging Research in Indianapolis found 28 percent of the center's patients visited hospital emergency department versus 50 percent of similar, but non-center, patients.

The study, published in Aging & Mental Health, also found hospitalized, center patients had stays averaging five days while the says of non-center patients averaged seven days.

"These numbers show without a doubt that improved dementia care benefits patients, their family caregivers and the entire healthcare system," Boustani says in a statement.

"With the HABC model we have extended the definition of patient to include family members who enable cognitively impaired individuals to live in the community."

The center's physicians, nurses, social workers and other staff members work closely with the patient and family caregivers both in the medical office and in the home, and communicate by phone and e-mail to deliver quality care that reduces depression and improves physical health, Boustani says.

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