Testing an Intervention to Improve Posthospital Outcomes in Persons Living With Dementia and Their Family Care Partners

Marie Boltz, Jacqueline Mogle, Ashley Kuzmik, Rhonda Belue, Douglas Leslie, James E. Galvin, Barbara Resnick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background and Objectives: Hospitalized persons living with dementia are at risk for functional decline, behavioral symptoms of distress, and delirium, all persisting in the postacute period. In turn, family care partners (FCPs) experience increased anxiety and lack of preparedness for caregiving, compounding existing strain and burden. Family-centered Function-focused Care (Fam-FFC) purposefully engages FCPs in assessment, decision-making, care delivery, and evaluation of function-focused care during and after hospitalization (within 48 hours of discharge, weekly telephone calls for a total of 7 additional weeks, then monthly for 4 months). The objective of this study was to test the efficacy of Fam-FFC. Research Design and Methods: A cluster randomized controlled trial included 455 dyads of persons living with dementia and FCPs in 6 medical units in 3 hospitals. Patient outcomes included return to baseline physical function, behavioral symptoms of distress, depressive symptoms, and delirium severity. Family care partner measures included preparedness for caregiving, anxiety, strain, and burden. Results: Multilevel level modeling demonstrated that the likelihood of returning to baseline function across time for Fam-FFC participants was twice that of the control group by the end of 6 months (OR=2.4, p=.01, 95% CI 1.2-4.7). Family-centered Function-focused Care was also associated with fewer symptoms of distress (b=-1.1, SE=0.56, p=.05) but no differences in the amount of moderate physical activity, depressive symptoms, and delirium severity. Preparedness for caregiving increased significantly only from 2 to 6 months (b=0.89, SE=0.45, d=0.21, overall p=.02) in the intervention group, with no group differences in anxiety, strain, and burden. Discussion and Implications: Family-centered Function-focused Care may help prevent some of the postacute functional decline and behavioral symptoms in hospitalized persons living with dementia. Further research is needed to promote sustained improvements in these symptoms with more attention to the postacute needs of the care partner.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberigad083
JournalInnovation in Aging
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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