May 11, 2010
Published In: Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, v. 58, no. 2, Feb. 2010, p. 324-329
Posted on RAND.org on February 01, 2010
OBJECTIVES: To determine whether a practice redesign intervention coupled with referral to local Alzheimer's Association chapters can improve the quality of dementia care. DESIGN: Pre-post intervention. SETTING: Two community-based physician practices. PARTICIPANTS: Five physicians in each practice and their patients aged 75 and older with dementia. INTERVENTION: Adaptation of the Assessing Care of Vulnerable Elders (ACOVE)-2 intervention (screening, efficient collection of clinical data, medical record prompts, patient education and empowerment materials, and physician decision support and education). In addition, physicians faxed referral forms to local Alzheimer's Association chapters, which assessed patients, provided counseling and education, and faxed information back to the physicians. MEASUREMENTS: Audits of pre- (5 per physician) and postintervention (10 per physician) medical records using ACOVE-3 quality indicators for dementia to measure the quality of care provided. RESULTS: Based on 47 pre- and 90 postintervention audits, the percentage of quality indicators satisfied rose from 38% to 46%, with significant differences on quality indicators measuring the assessment of functional status (20% vs 51%), discussion of risks and benefits of antipsychotics (32% vs 100%), and counseling caregivers (2% vs 30%). Referral of patients to Alzheimer's Association chapters increased from 0% to 17%. Referred patients had higher quality scores (65% vs 41%) and better counseling about driving (50% vs 14%), caregiver counseling (100% vs 15%), and surrogate decision-maker specification (75% vs 44%). Some quality indicators related to cognitive assessment and examination did not improve. CONCLUSION: This pilot study suggests that a practice-based intervention can increase referral to Alzheimer's Association chapters and improve quality of dementia care.