This research will be conducted by the SIU Memory and Aging Network (MAN), which comprises 38 sites that evaluate and treat patients with dementia throughout non-metropolitan Illinois. AD patients and their caregivers who are living in private homes will be recruited. Primary outcome measures will be the ratings of the caregiver’s physical status (grip strength, walking speed, and score on the Timed Up-and-Go Test11 and the rating of the caregiver’s chronic medical illness burden using the Cumulative Illness Rating Scale (Geriatric).12,13 The patient and caregiver dyad is required and they will be seen in follow-up every six months for three years, or until the patient is either institutionalized (NHP), expires, or is lost to follow-up. Whether they are seen in follow-up or not, they will be called every two months to check on their status during the three-year period.
After enrollment, all patients who are seen in follow-up will receive the usual optimal care that the MAN program provides. The clinicians will be blinded to the results of the assessments of the caregivers obtained at enrollment. There will be no specific study-related intervention. The study analysis will determine if the primary outcome measures may predict the length of time before a patient experiences NHP, controlling for demographic characteristics. Secondary aims are to determine if caregiver factors of cognitive status, quality of life, caregiving burden, and nutritional status may be predictors of patient NHP.