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Friday, April 28, 2017

Breaking the stereotype: Male family caregivers

In North America, family caregivers are often the ones who deliver supportive services for individuals with chronic, disabling, or other serious health conditions. They identify and schedule services, provide emotional support, accompany their family or friend to doctors appointments, administer medications, and assist with personal care (such as bathing, dressing, and feeding), pay bills, and figure out health insurance. Such help allows individuals to remain in their homes for as long as possible. However, with an increasingly aging population, longer life expectancies,  and shrinking household sizes, the supply of family caregivers is dwindling and likely won't be able to keep up with future demand.

While traditionally women have taken on the role of caregiver, a recent report shows that more men are rising to the challenge. According to the Caregiving in the U.S. 2015 survey there are over 16 million male family caregivers in the United States meaning that roughly 40% of family caregivers are men. Some other notable statistics include:

  • The average age for a male family caregiver is 48 years old
  • Nearly half of all male caregivers (48%) have a high school diploma, or a diploma plus some college education, compared to only 37% with a college or graduate degree
  • More than 44% of all male family caregivers have household incomes of under $50,000/yr
  • Over half (56%) of male caregivers are married, while a quarter (26%) are single and have never married
  • Similarly to females, nearly half (49%) of all male caregivers felt that they had little choice but to provide care, especially those caring for a spouse or partner
  • More than half (52%) of current male caregivers expect to be caring for someone in the next 5 years, namely an aging parent or in-law 
Drawing on data from the Caregiving in the U.S. 2015 survey, a new AARP report titled Breaking Stereotypes: Spotlight on Male Family Caregivers highlights male family caregivers and provides current information about the experiences and challenges that male caregivers face today.

To read the report, click on the following link:

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

New study looks at Oral Health and Nutrition among Nursing Home Residents

Oral health among nursing home residents is often poor due to age and limited access to dental care, which may be a symptom and cause of poor overall health and nutritional status. [1 However, oral health care support in nursing homes is often limited resulting in poor oral hygiene and oral health [2, 3]. A Canadian study notes that in their most recent shift, 59 % of the care aides surveyed felt rushed when doing mouth care and 19 % left mouth care undone [4]. And many long-term care residents are unable to practice good oral hygiene themselves due to physical impairments or cognitive disabilities.

With these concerns in mind, a new study was performed to assess oral and nutritional status of nursing home residents in Germany. The aim was to show potential associations between oral status, other factors (dementia, age, smoking) and the risk for malnutrition in this population.

The results of the study showed that dementia was a strong predictor for risk of malnutrition in nursing home residents. Further studies are needed in order to determine the possible role of oral health as co-factor for malnutrition in dementia [5].

To read the full study, click on the following link:

[1] Saunders, M.J., Stattmiller, S.P., Kirk, K.M. Oral health issues in the nutrition of institutionalized elders. J Nutr Elder. 2007; 26: 39-58. 
[3] De Visschere, L., Grooten, L., Theuniers, G., Vanobbergen, J.N. Oral hygiene of elderly people in longterm care institutions- a cross sectional study. Gerodontology 2006; 23: 195-204. 
[4] Knopp-Sihota, J.A., Niehaus, L., Squires, J.E., Norton, P.G., Estabrooks, C.A. Factors associated with rushed and missed resident care in western Canadian nursing homes: A cross-sectional survey of health care aides. J. Clin. Nurs. 2015; 24: 2815-25. 
[5] Ziebolz, D., Werner, C., Schmalz, G., Nitschke, I., Haak, R., Mausberg, R.F., Chenot, J.F. Oral health and nutritional status in nursing home residents- Results of an explorative cross-sectional pilot study. BMC Geriatrics 2017; 17(1): 39. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Strategies for bringing wellness to people with cognitive decline

Changes in cognitive processes are a normal part of aging. However, when cognitive changes become sufficiently severe and interfere with the ability to perform activities of daily living, then individuals may be beginning the journey along the stages of cognitive decline and dementia.

To address such concerns, the International Council on Aging on Active Aging has released a new blueprint that lists 14 strategies with the aim of providing the most positive experiences for people with mild-to-moderate dementias. Both family members and and colleagues are considered within these implementation tactics, which include suggestions for programs and services, staffing, and physical environment.

The resource can be accessed here:

Monday, April 17, 2017

The Dementia Learning and Development Framework

The Dementia Learning and Development Framework was set in motion following an extensive regional scoping exercise which collated information on the type and volume of training currently available to staff in the region (North of Ireland). The exercise included an examination of the cost and accessibility of training programmes and existing levels of accreditation.

This Framework was also informed by best practice guidance and literature reviews, reviews of other frameworks and a programme of consultation and engagement with key stakeholders from June 2015 until January 2016. This included people living with a dementia, carers, professionals, academics and regulators who represented a range of agencies and professions.

To view the Framework, click here:

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

New Toolkit helps Canadian Long-Term Care Homes create palliative care programs

Tools for Change is a resource that was created by the Quality Palliative Care in Long Term Care (QPC-LTC) Alliance to guide long term care homes in Canada that are creating their own formalized palliative care programs.

The Alliance members developed a model of care for palliative care in long term care that is supported by multiple quality improvement interventions for implementing education, direct care, community partnerships, and policy and program development.

The toolkit outlines a model of care that was developed using literature on innovative practices and guidelines for providing palliative care and research data indicating the successes of the four long term care home that volunteered to be study sites.

In areas where long term care homes choose to do quality improvement, resources are offered to help homes develop or enhance their structures and processes and improve the delivery of palliative care.

For more information about the QPC-LTC Toolkit, click on the following link:

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

New study questions the use of antipsychotics to manage delirium in the terminally ill

The benefit of antipsychotics for the management of delirium in terminally ill patients has been called into question by a randomized trial in which 247 inpatients of a hospice or palliative care service with mild to moderately severe delirium were assigned oral risperidone, haloperidol or placebo every 12 hours for 72 hours.
Patients who received antipsychotics had more severe delirium, worse delirium-associated distress scores, more use of midazolam, more extrapyramidal effects and worse short-term survival.
The authors conclude that “antipsychotic drugs should not be added to manage specific symptoms of delirium that are known to be associated with distress in patients receiving palliative care who have mild to moderately severe delirium. Rather, management relies on ensuring systematic screening (given that two-thirds of people with delirium are not diagnosed on referral to palliative care), reversing the precipitants of delirium, and providing supportive interventions”.
To read the full study, click on the following link: 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

AHRQ toolkit for hospital-acquired infections in long-term care

The updated AHRQ Toolkit To Reduce Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections (CAUTI) and Other Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs) in Long-Term Care Facilities is designed to help long-term care providers improve practices that prevent these infections.
The toolkit includes instructional materials and resources on infection prevention best practices, including foundational infection prevention strategies, CAUTI prevention and antibiotic stewardship. Other topics are related to resident and family engagement, quality improvement and sustainability.
The toolkit includes the following sections:
  • Implementation
  • Sustainability
  • Resources
Each section of the toolkit contains customizable resources that can be used by long-term care facilities. These guides, tools, slides and video are all publically available and downloadable online.
To learn more about the toolkit and how you can use it in your organization, visit the following website: