Joined by Harvard researcher in expanding a potentially life-saving study

September 15, 2016 — Dr. Kenneth Boockvar of The New Jewish Home’s Research Institute on Aging NIA_tall logo(RIOA) has been awarded a two-year grant totaling nearly $400,000 from the National Institute on Aging to lead a study seeking to reduce delirium, hospitalizations and deaths for nursing home residents affected by acute illnesses.

The study will build on an earlier study published in the May 2016 issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, which showed promising findings from HELP-LTC, a program that is new to nursing homes, in which a mobile Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) delivered daily treatments throughout a nursing home facility to residents at the onset of acute medical conditions (e.g., infections). Boockvar’s research team developed HELP-LTC based on a successful model now being used by hospitals.

The initial study was conducted at a facility of The New Jewish Home, and results showed substantial health improvements. 13.2% of residents that received the HELP-LTC intervention were transferred to the hospital. In a comparable building without the HELP-LTC intervention, 23.9% of residents were transferred to the hospital. In the study, mortality rates were also improved by the intervention.

Patients who received the treatments, which included orientation and memory activities to maintain cognitive function, water and snacks to maintain hydration and nutrition, and exercise to maintain mobility for 30 minutes each day during the acute medical condition, reported a high level of satisfaction. Staff assessments were also positive. Given the cost savings of lower hospitalizations, HELP-LTC may be cost-effective even when dedicated CNA staffing is factored in.

The new NIA-funded study will take place at The New Jewish Home’s Manhattan campus. Dr. Boockvar will be joined by fellow researchers Dr. Sharon Inouye of Harvard University and Hebrew Senior Life, and Dr. Jeanne Teresi of the Hebrew Home at Riverdale, both of whom were also partners in the initial study, which was funded by The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, Inc. The new study will also include a research assistant and a CNA specifically focused on delirium prevention.

The new study, running from 2016 to 2018, will utilize the same HELP-LTC treatments, which will be initiated at the onset of an acute medical condition such as an infection.. The study will have a rigorous study design with a formal control group, and a research assistant who will be “blinded” as to whether each resident in the study is in intervention or control groups. The National Institute on Aging funding will include $275,000 for direct costs, as well as additional monies for indirect costs that make the NIA grant total $397,801.

The goal of this important new study is to find effective treatments for older adults in nursing homes who face acute medical conditions, in order to lessen hospitalization and fatality rates. The New Jewish Home is proud to have the important work of their Research Institute recognized and supported by the National Institute on Aging.

► READ: The article on the initial study, courtesy of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (from the May, 2016 edition):