UTHealth studies telephone-based dementia care

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston is piloting a study on telephone-based care for homebound seniors with dementia.

The six-month study aims to test whether the program can help reduce caregiver burden and hospitalizations of elderly patients. Study participants are homebound seniors with dementia who receive Meals on Wheels. These individuals are at high-risk for self-neglect, which can affect a person's ability to perform basic self-care tasks, such as preparing meals and taking medication.

During the program both the participant and their informal caregiver, who usually is a friend or family member, complete assessments that ask questions regarding focus on memory problems, social isolation, depression, driving ability, relationship stress, capacity to provide care, medications and mobility, among others.

After the assessment, a care consultant will use a web-based protocol to determine the participant and caregiver's unmet needs as well as provide information on services and resources that can help support those needs. Throughout the program, the care consultant will complete phone calls with participants to determine if goals are being met.

The Alzheimer's Association is supporting the research with a $120,000 grant.

More articles on telehealth:
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12 hospitals, health systems launching telehealth services

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