Delirium Prevention Project is anticipated to also reduce hospitalization of participants
NEW YORK, NY October 25, 2012 – Delirium in elders can lead to falls, function decline and hospitalization and may be preventable. A Jewish Home clinical demonstration project, funded through a $212,000 grant from The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, has commenced to explore risk factors and indicators of delirium and strategies to prevent it from occurring. Led by Kenneth Boockvar, MD, MS, Jewish Home’s Director, Clinical Studies, Research Institute on Aging, the clinical demonstration project is anticipated to improve ill elders’ lives. Over the course of two years, 300 to 400 elders are expected to participate in the Jewish Home Delirium Prevention Project.
“Delirium is a harbinger of worsening health. With its accompanying hallucinations and agitation, it is associated with long term complications and is disturbing at best for the patient and most distressing for family members,” explains Dr. Boockvar. He continues, “While there have been studies on how to treat delirium, to my knowledge, there has not been a project to prevent delirium from developing while a person is living in a nursing home setting. By identifying risk factors and tailoring interventions, our goal is to prevent delirium from occurring in the first place. In so doing, the impact on the older person’s health and well-being would be significant.”
In addition to his work at Jewish Home, Dr. Boockvar is Associate Professor, Brookdale Department of Geriatrics and Adult Development, Mount Sinai School of Medicine; and Associate Director, Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center, JJ Peters VA Medical Center.
For the first time, the successful Elder Life model, a groundbreaking evidence-based intervention designed to prevent functional and cognitive decline of elders during hospitalization, is being adapted for use within a nursing home. Using a mobile team of a nurse practitioner and an Elder Life specialist, standardized assessment and treatment for delirium risk factors will be provided at the onset of and during an acute illness (like a bladder infection or fever). These brief interventions are expected to last seven to 14 days, until the acute illness has elapsed.
After The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation funding expires, Jewish Home intends to continue the Elder Life program.