Whether they are senior citizens themselves or caregivers responsible for an elderly family member, Florida residents will likely be faced with a myriad of decisions regarding long term care planning. Even without the consideration of illnesses, protecting loved ones who may become frail with age through assisted living choices at home or in a facility is usually part of the family picture.
When Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia are diagnosed, long term care planning becomes even more critical. It can be a number of years from diagnosis to life’s end in this situation. Anticipating future medical care, guardianship possibilities and other elder law issues can be difficult, as every patient is different. Thanks to new clinical research, however, an assessment tool now exists designed to help determine when a patient is likely to need nursing home care. It can be used to predict how long it will be before the person will need assisted living for eating and personal care.
Columbia University Medical Center researchers report the method is based on 16 variables. A healthcare professional can obtain this information about the patient with one visit. It would include evaluation of daily activities, symptom-onset time frames and mental capabilities data. The analysis would generate a report predicting about how long it would be before progression of the disease would require nursing home care.
Following two groups of about 250 Alzheimer’s patients over 10 years allowed the research team to identify the variables used in the method. Reports indicate that the a computer program to generate the analysis and predictions should be available in about two years.
Being able to anticipate the growing care needs for senior citizens suffering from Alzheimer’s is a helpful medical breakthrough. For aging healthy seniors, long term care planning is just as important and deserves careful consideration by them and their families.
Source: McKnight’s Long-Term Care News & Assisted Living, “Routine assessment predicts when Alzheimer’s patients will need nursing home care, researchers report” Tim Mullaney, Nov. 08, 2013