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People with young-onset dementia (YOD) living in nursing homes may experience poor quality of life (QoL) due to advanced dementia, high prevalence of neuropsychiatric symptoms and psychotropic drug use. However, the course of QoL in institutionalized people with YOD and factors that predict this course are unclear. This knowledge could help health professionals identify appropriate interventions to improve QoL in YOD.
To explore the course of QoL in institutionalized people with YOD and resident-related predictors of that course.
Secondary analyses were conducted with longitudinal data from the Behavior and Evolution in Young-ONset Dementia (BEYOND)-II study. A total of 278 people with YOD were recruited from 13 YOD special care units in the Netherlands. QoL was measured by the proxy assessment of Quality of Life in Dementia (QUALIDEM) questionnaire at four assessments over 18 months. Independent variables included age, gender, dementia subtype, length of stay, dementia severity, neuropsychiatric symptoms and psychotropic drug use at baseline. Multilevel modeling adjusted for correlation within nursing homes and residents was used to determine the course and predictors of QoL.
The total QUALIDEM score (range: 0–111) decreased over 18 months with a statistically significant decline of 0.73 points per six months. A significant increase of QoL over time was seen in the subscales “Care relationship”, “Positive self-image”, and “Feeling at home”. However, a significant decline was observed in the subscales “Positive affect”, “Social relations”, and “Something to do”. Residents’ course of QoL was positively associated with the baseline scores of the QoL, age and longer duration of stay; however, being male, having advanced dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and high rates of neuropsychiatric symptoms at baseline were negatively associated with the course of QoL
Longitudinal changes in QoL in residents with YOD were small over 18 months and QUALIDEM subscales showed multidirectional changes. The largest QoL decline in the subscale “Positive affect” suggests that interventions should be targeted to improve positive emotions, in particular for male residents with neuropsychiatric symptoms and advanced dementia.
Extreme neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS) can be a heavy burden for nursing home (NH)-residents, relatives and caregivers. When conventional treatments are ineffective or have intolerable side effects, extreme NPS can be considered refractory. In these situations, continuous palliative sedation (CPS) is sometimes administered. We explored the trajectory leading to CPS and its application in NH-residents with dementia and refractory NPS.
A qualitative interview study was performed in 2017. Relatives, elderly care physicians and other staff members involved with three NH-residents with dementia and extreme refractory NPS who received CPS were interviewed. These NH-residents lived on dementia special care units of three NHs in the Netherlands. We used consecutive sampling to select participants. Medical files were studied. Semi-structured interviews were conducted. Transcriptions were analyzed with thematic analysis, including directed content analysis.
Nine in-depth interviews with fourteen participants were held. Analysis resulted in five main themes with several subthemes reflecting phases of the trajectory leading to CPS and the CPS application itself, a sixth main theme concerned evaluations thereof. According to the first theme (run-up), the suffering of the NH-resident was described as unbearable/an inner struggle. Participants still had hope for improvement. Concerning the second theme (turning point), hope was lost, participants were convinced they had tried everything and experienced feelings of powerlessness and failure. Regarding theme three (considering CPS), intermittent sedation was applied in all three cases and peer consultation was employed. Honoring the wish of the NH-resident and therapeutic uncertainties, among others, were important subthemes. According to theme four (decision to start CPS), in each case one specific aspect was a decisive trigger for administering CPS. Concerning theme five (applying CPS) feelings of relief were experienced after starting with CPS.
The trajectory leading up to CPS in NH-residents with dementia and extreme refractory NPS was complex and burdensome, but the application led to relief and contentment of all those involved. We recommend to include external consultation in the decision process and to apply intermittent sedation as a preceding step when CPS is considered.
Psychotropic drugs are frequently and sometimes inappropriately used for the treatment of neuropsychiatric symptoms of people with dementia, despite their limited efficacy and side effects. Interventions to address neuropsychiatric symptoms and psychotropic drug use are multifactorial and often multidisciplinary. Suboptimal implementation of these complex interventions often limits their effectiveness. This systematic review provides an overview of barriers and facilitators influencing the implementation of complex interventions targeting neuropsychiatric symptoms and psychotropic drug use in long-term care.
To identify relevant studies, the following electronic databases were searched between 28 May and 4 June: PubMed, Web of Science, PsycINFO, Cochrane, and CINAHL. Two reviewers systematically reviewed the literature, and the quality of the included studies was assessed using the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme qualitative checklist. The frequency of barriers and facilitators was addressed, followed by deductive thematic analysis describing their positive of negative influence. The Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research guided data synthesis.
Fifteen studies were included, using mostly a combination of intervention types and care programs, as well as different implementation strategies. Key factors to successful implementation included strong leadership and support of champions. Also, communication and coordination between disciplines, management support, sufficient resources, and culture (e.g. openness to change) influenced implementation positively. Barriers related mostly to unstable organizations, such as renovations to facility, changes toward self-directed teams, high staff turnover, and perceived work and time pressures.
Implementation is complex and needs to be tailored to the specific needs and characteristics of the organization in question. Champions should be carefully chosen, and the application of learned actions and knowledge into practice is expected to further improve implementation.
The Act in case of Depression program showed effects on the quality of life and depression in nursing home (NH) residents. We aimed to explore the effects of this complex multidisciplinary program on job satisfaction, job demands, and autonomy in nursing home staff.
Four data points from a stepped-wedge cluster-randomized trial on patient outcomes were used for secondary analyses on staff outcomes.
Sixteen dementia special care and 17 somatic care units in Dutch NHs.
Participants were 717 (90.1%) care staff or trainees, 34 (4.3%) paramedical staff, and 45 (5.7%) other staff members.
Intervention describes procedures for nursing staff, activity therapists, psychologists, and physicians. It contains evidence-based pathways for depression assessment, treatment, and monitoring treatment results.
Mixed models for intention-to-treat analyses showed no significant changes in job demands, job satisfaction, or autonomy. Models corrected for the ratio of unit residents who received, when indicated, a specific program component revealed reduced job demands and improved job satisfaction and autonomy when treatment procedures were used. A better use of assessment procedures was associated with increased job demands, while conducting monitoring procedures was associated with increased job demands and decreased autonomy.
Components of complex care programs may affect the staff outcomes in opposite directions and, taken together, produce a zero-sum or a statistically insignificant effect. While implementing treatment protocols affecting patients directly can also improve job outcomes such as satisfaction and autonomy and decrease job demands, it is possible that other procedures of complex programs may have unfavorable effects on job outcomes. It is important to account for specific components of complex interventions when evaluating intervention effects.
Before drawing conclusions on the contribution of an effective intervention to daily practice and initiating dissemination, its quality and implementation in daily practice should be optimal. The aim of this process evaluation was to study these aspects alongside a randomized controlled trial investigating the effects of a multidisciplinary biannual medication review in long-term care organizations (NTR3569).
Process evaluation with multiple measurements.
Thirteen units for people with dementia in six long-term care organizations in the Netherlands.
Physicians, pharmacists, and nursing staff of participating units.
The PROPER intervention is a structured and biannually repeated multidisciplinary medication review supported by organizational preparation and education, evaluation, and guidance.
Web-based questionnaires, interviews, attendance lists of education sessions, medication reviews and evaluation meetings, minutes, evaluation, and registration forms.
Participation rates in education sessions (95%), medication reviews (95%), and evaluation meetings (82%) were high. The intervention’s relevance and feasibility and applied implementation strategies were highly rated. However, the education sessions and conversations during medication reviews were too pharmacologically oriented for several nursing staff members. Identified barriers to implementation were required time, investment, planning issues, and high staff turnover; facilitators were the positive attitude of professionals toward the intervention, the support of higher management, and the appointment of a local implementation coordinator.
Implementation was successful. The commitment of both higher management and professionals was an important factor. This may partly have been due to the subject being topical; Dutch long-term-care organizations are pressed to lower inappropriate psychotropic drug use.
We studied the patient and non-patients factors of inappropriate psychotropic drug (PD) prescription for neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS) in nursing home patients with severe dementia.
In a cross-sectional study, the appropriateness of prescriptions was explored using the Appropriate Psychotropic drug use In Dementia (APID) index sum score. This index assesses information from medical records on indication, evaluation, dosage, drug–drug interactions, drug–disease interactions, duplications, and therapy duration. Various measurements were carried out to identify the possible patient and non-patient factors. Linear multilevel regression analysis was used to identify factors that are associated with APID index sum scores. Analyses were performed for groups of PDs separately, i.e. antipsychotics, antidepressants, anxiolytics, and hypnotics.
The sample consisted of 338 patients with a PD prescription that used 147 antipsychotics, 167 antidepressants, 85 anxiolytics, and 76 hypnotics. It was found that older patients and more severe aggression, agitation, apathy, and depression were associated with more appropriate prescriptions. Additionally, less appropriate prescriptions were found to be associated with more severe anxiety, dementia diagnoses other than Alzheimer dementia, more physician time available per patient, more patients per physician, more years of experience of the physician, and higher nurse's workload.
The association of more pronounced NPS with more appropriate PD prescriptions implies that physicians should pay more attention to the appropriateness of PD prescriptions when NPS are less manifest. Non-patient-related factors are also associated with the appropriateness of PD prescriptions. However, especially considering that some of these findings are counter-intuitive, more research on the topic is recommended.
This study explores the appropriateness of psychotropic drug (PD) use for neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS) in nursing home patients with dementia.
A cross-sectional study on 559 patients with dementia residing on dementia special care units in Dutch nursing homes was conducted. Appropriateness of PD use was assessed using the Appropriate Psychotropic drug use In Dementia (APID) index. The APID index score is calculated using information about individual PDs from patients’ medical records. The index encompasses seven (different) domains of appropriateness, i.e. indication, evaluation, dosage, drug-drug interactions, drug-disease interactions, duplications, and therapy duration.
A total of 578 PDs were used for NPS by 60% of the nursing home patients. Indication, evaluation, and therapy duration contributed the most to inappropriate use. Ten per cent of the PDs scored fully appropriate according to the APID index sum score, 36% scored fully appropriate for indication, 46% scored fully appropriate for evaluation, and 58% scored fully appropriate for therapy duration. Antidepressants were used the most appropriately, and antiepileptics the most inappropriately.
The minority of the PD use was fully appropriate. The results imply that PD use for NPS in dementia can be improved; the appropriateness should be optimized with a clinical focus on the appropriate indications, evaluations, and therapy duration.
Apathy is common in nursing home (NH) residents and it overlaps with depression. This study examines the effects of a multidisciplinary depression program on apathy and depressive motivational and mood symptoms.
Secondary analyses of a stepped-wedge cluster-randomized controlled trial were conducted with six measurements. Sixteen dementia NH units and 17 somatic units were enrolled. In the intervention condition, a program containing depression assessment procedures and multidisciplinary treatment (activating strategies, psychotherapy, and medication) was introduced. Usual care was provided in the control condition. Outcomes were assessed using the 10-item Apathy Evaluation Scale and the Cornell Scale for Depression in Dementia.
Intention-to-treat analyses showed that the whole depression management program reduced apathy in dementia units (p < 0.001; Cohen's d, −0.35), and depressive motivational symptoms in somatic units (p = 0.008; Cohen's d, −0.40). Depressive mood symptoms were not affected in both unit types. The effect on apathy in dementia units was mainly attributed to activating strategies (p < 0.001; Cohen's d, −0.73). The effect on motivational symptoms in somatic units was mainly attributed to psychotherapy (p = 0.002; Cohen's d, −0.80). Apathy worsening was associated with pharmacological depression treatment in both unit types (p = 0.009; Cohen's d, 0.35).
Depression management may affect apathy and depressive symptoms differently, which underpins the position of apathy as a distinct syndrome. NH professionals can effectively use activating strategies in dementia units, and psychotherapy in somatic units. More research is needed on treating depressive mood symptoms, and on effects of antidepressants in NHs.
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