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Caregiver Support Delays Nursing Home for Alzheimer's

Continuous counseling program delays time to nursing home placement by average of 557 days

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Caregiver counseling can help keep Alzheimer disease patients home for a longer period of time and delay the need for nursing home placement, according to a report in the November issue of Neurology.

Mary Mittelman, Dr.P.H., of New York University School of Medicine in New York City, and colleagues randomized 406 spouse caregivers of community-dwelling Alzheimer disease patients to either individual counseling with continuous support or usual care. The effect of counseling sessions on delaying time to nursing home placement was measured over a 9.5-year period.

Caregiver counseling resulted in a 28.3 percent reduction in nursing home placement compared with standard care and delayed overall time to placement by a median of 557 days. The delay was most likely due to beneficial effects on social support, response to patient behavior and depressive symptoms for the caregiver.

"Greater access to effective programs of counseling and support could yield considerable benefits for caregivers, patients with Alzheimer disease, and society," the authors write.

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