Over two thirds or the home health care population consists of adults over the age of 65, approximately 36% have some form of cognitive impairment, including dementia. According to the Institute of Medicine, the number of home health care (HHC) providers qualified to properly care for the older adults, including those with dementia, is inadequate.
Seeing the need to fill the knowledge gap, Abraham Brody, PhD, RN, GNP-BC, an assistant professor at the New York University College of Nursing (NYUCN) and associate director, Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing (HIGN), recently developed the Dementia Symptom Management at Home (DSM-H). The intent of the program is to help home healthcare agencies to improve the quality of care they provide to patients living with dementia (PLWD) and reduce caregiver stress and burnout.
The DSM-H is a synergistic combination of elements from several interprofessional training programs utilizing both online education, off-line mentoring, and evidence-based assessment tools and care plans to provide a structured way for HHC agencies to assess and manage pain and behavioral symptoms such as agitation, verbal and physical aggression, delusions, hallucinations, and sleep problems in PLWD and to also decrease their caregivers’ stress, burnout, and burden of care.