XinQi Dong, committee member, adds to recommendations on how to improve dementia caregiving, reduce disparities and expand future research
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on Tuesday released a report that provides recommendations on improving care interventions for people with dementia and their caregivers and lays out a blueprint for future research.
The report, Meeting the Challenge of Caring for Persons Living with Dementia and Their Care Partners and Caregivers: A Way Forward, was written by a committee of experts including XinQi Dong, MD, MPH, director of the Rutgers Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research and the inaugural Henry Rutgers Distinguished Professor of Population Health Sciences.
The committee evaluated existing evidence on dementia care interventions based on a systematic review by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and gathered direct input from people living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias and those who care for them.
As many as 5.8 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias and millions more are providing care to someone with dementia, but care interventions are complex and many people’s needs go unmet, particularly racial and ethnic minorities, the committee found.“While we have some data suggesting the effectiveness of the way we care for older adults with dementia, we were stuck by how much we don’t know, especially when it comes to underserved populations,” Dong said. “We also have much to learn about potential unintended harms of caregiving interventions, including issues such as elder abuse, neglect and exploitation.”
The report concluded that broader implementation of two types of care interventions may be beneficial, with continued research: collaborative care models, which bring together multidisciplinary care teams incorporating medical and psychosocial care, and REACH II, which provides support for family care partners/caregivers.
The committee recommended that organizations and individuals should make decisions about dementia caregiving using fundamental principles and components of care, including person-centeredness, justice, and inclusivity, and support for activities of daily living, and coordination of care.
“Although further research is needed, our committee found that we have promising evidence on what types of interventions may be helpful,” Dong said. “So much of caregiving is individualized, and families and organizations can leverage these resources to make decisions and support care for those with dementia.”
Dong is a population health epidemiologist and geriatrician, and has published extensively on violence prevention, elder justice and healthy aging. He is a leader in advancing population health issues in under-represented communities.