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Primary Health Care (PHC) has an essential role in the early detection of people with cognitive impairment (CI). Rowland Universal Dementia Assessment Scale (RUDAS) is a brief cognitive test, appropriate for people with minimum completed level of education and easily adaptable to multicultural contexts. For these reasons it could be a good instrument for dementia screening in PHC. It comprises the following areas: recent memory, body orientation, praxis, executive functions and language.
The objective of this study was to analyse the viability of RUDAS, as an instrument for the screening of CI in PHC. RUDAS viability in PHC was checked, and it's psychometric properties assessed: Reliability, Sensitivity, Specificity, Positive and Negative Predictive Value were studied. RUDAS was compared to Mini Mental State Exam (MMSE) as a “gold standard”.
Patients and Methods
RUDAS was administered to 150 participants older than 65 years, randomly selected from seven PHC physicians’ consultations in O Grove Health Center. The test battery also included Katz, Barthel and Lawton Indexes, MMSE and the Geriatric Depression Scale. For each instrument administration time, difficulties perceived while administration and participant's collaboration were recorded. RUDAS was administered again within one month to assess test-retest reliability. For dementia clinical diagnosis, patients were classified following the Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR) scale based on clinicians’ criteria and health records.
RUDAS application was brief (7,58±2,10 minutes) and well accepted. RUDAS’ area under Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) curve was 0.965 (95% Confidence Interval (CI) = 0.91-1.00) for an optimal cut-off point of 21.5, with sensitivity of 90.0%, and a specificity of 94.1%. RUDAS did not correlate with depression. Education, socioeconomic status and urban or rural context did not contribute any variance to RUDAS total score.
RUDAS is a valid instrument to assess CI in PHC. It is easily applicable and appears to be culturally fair and free from educational level and language interference in bilingual contexts. However, longitudinal studies to determine its sensitivity to change in cognitive function over time are needed.
The risks of polypharmacy can be far greater than the benefits, especially in the elderly. Comorbidity makes polypharmacy very prevalent in this population; thus, increasing the occurrence of adverse effects. To solve this problem, the most common strategy is to use lists of potentially inappropriate medications. However, this strategy is time consuming.
In order to minimize the expenditure of time, our group devised a pilot computer tool (Polimedication) that automatically processes lists of medication providing the corresponding Screening Tool of Older Persons’ potentially inappropriate Prescriptions alerts and facilitating standardized reports. The drug lists for 115 residents in Santa Marta Nursing Home (Fundación San Rosendo, Ourense, Spain) were processed.
The program detected 10.04 alerts/patient, of which 74.29% were not repeated. After reviewing these alerts, 12.12% of the total (1.30 alerts/patient) were considered relevant. The largest number of alerts (41.48%) involved neuroleptic drugs. Finally, the patient's family physician or psychiatrist accepted the alert and made medication changes in 62.86% of the relevant alerts. The largest number of changes (38.64%) also involved neuroleptic drugs. The mean time spent in the generation and review of the warnings was 6.26 minute/patient. Total changes represented a saving of 32.77 € per resident/year in medication.
The application of Polimedication tool detected a high proportion of potentially inappropriate prescriptions in institutionalized elderly patients. The use of the computerized tool achieved significant savings in pharmaceutical expenditure, as well as a reduction in the time taken for medication review.
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