ITEMS IN AFP WITH MESH TERM:
ABSTRACT: Family physicians play a key role in assessing and managing patients with Alzheimer's disease and in linking the families of these patients to supportive services within the community. As part of comprehensive management, the family physician may be responsible for coordinating assessments of patient function, cognition, comorbid medical conditions, disorders of mood and emotion, and caregiver status. Suggestions for easily administered and scored assessment tools are provided, and practical tips are given for supporting primary caregivers, thereby increasing efficiency and quality of care for patients with Alzheimer's disease.
Caretaker Burnout: Supporting Families of Patients with Alzheimer's Disease - Curbside Consultation
ABSTRACT: Patients who provide care to family members or friends with dementia are likely to be in a family physician's practice. The caregiver role can be stressful, and identifying these patients can give the family physician opportunities to help patients cope with the challenges of the caregiver role. Family physicians have a systematic approach for assessing the degree of caregiver burden in these patients. Because caregivers are at increased risk for depression and anxiety, screening should be done to exclude the presence of either disorder. The caregiver's skill in managing behavioral problems in the family member with dementia should be assessed. If there are problems, family physicians should provide practical counseling about common caregiving stresses and about resources that benefit caregivers. Helping the caregiver learn strategies for coping with difficulties may help reduce some of the stress the caregiver is experiencing.
Caring for Caregivers - Editorials
Caregiver Care - Article
ABSTRACT: In 2009, nearly 66 million Americans (three in 10 U.S. households) reported at least one person providing unpaid care as a family caregiver. More adults with chronic conditions and disabilities are living at home than ever before, and family caregivers have an even higher level of responsibility. Caring for loved ones is associated with several benefits, including personal fulfillment. However, caregiving is also associated with physical, psychological, and financial burdens. Primary care physicians can aid in the identification, support, and treatment of caregivers by offering caregiver assessments—interviews directed at identifying high levels of burden—as soon as caregivers are identified. Repeat assessments may be considered when there is a change in the status of caregiver or care recipient. Caregivers should be directed to appropriate resources for support, including national caregiving organizations, local area agencies on aging, Web sites, and respite care. Psychoeducational, skills-training, and therapeutic counseling interventions for caregivers of patients with chronic conditions such as dementia, cancer, stroke, and heart failure have shown small to moderate success in decreasing caregiver burden and increasing caregiver quality of life. Further research is needed to further identify strategies to offset caregiver stress, depression, and poor health outcomes. Additional support and anticipatory guidance for the care recipient and caregiver are particularly helpful during care transitions and at the care recipient’s end of life.
Beyond Words - Close-ups
Caring for Older Patients Who Have Significant Hearing Loss - Curbside Consultation
ABSTRACT: Elder mistreatment includes intentional or neglectful acts by a caregiver or trusted person that harm a vulnerable older person. It can occur in a variety of settings. One out of 10 older adults experiences some form of abuse or neglect by a caregiver each year, and the incidence is expected to increase. Although the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force found insufficient evidence that screening for elder abuse reduces harm, physicians in most states have professional and legal obligations to appropriately diagnose, report, and refer persons who have been abused. Screening or systematic inquiry can detect abuse. A detailed medical evaluation of patients suspected of being abused is necessary because medical and psychiatric conditions can mimic abuse. Signs of abuse may include specific patterns of injury. Interviewing patients and caregivers separately is helpful. Evaluation for possible abuse should include assessment of cognitive function. The Elder Abuse Suspicion Index is validated to screen for abuse in cognitively intact patients. A more detailed two-step process is used to screen patients with cognitive impairment. The National Center on Elder Abuse website provides detailed, state-specific reporting and resource information for family physicians.