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Abstract

Staging methodologies are an essential tool in the assessment of disease severity in progressive dementing illness. Several different instruments have been developed for this purpose. One of the most widely used methodologies is the Global Deterioration Scale/Functional Assessment Staging (GDS/FAST) system. This system has been studied extensively and proven to be reliable and valid for staging dementia in Alzheimer's disease (AD) in diverse settings. One of the major advantages of this system is that it spans, demarcates, and describes the entire course of normal aging and progressive AD until the final substages of the disease process. Other advantages include: (a) greatly enhanced ability to track the longitudinal course of AD, (b) improved clinicopathologic observations of AD interrelationships, and (c) enhanced diagnostic, differential diagnostic, and prognostic information. This article presents a brief overview of the GDS/FAST staging system.
... This is a multicentre trial involving nursing home consecutive patients criteria are the following: age ≥ 65 years; MMSE ≤ 12; informed consent sig representative. In particular, since GDS [68] and FAST [69] staging combine exert nearly three times AD variance in the temporal course with respect is the change in measure versus the change in time [70,71], AD staging for be of GDS/FAST > 5. Patients with a diagnosis of AD based on the diagnostic manual of mental disorders (DSM)-5 will be enrolled and recruited inde presumed pain or agitation. The assumption of needed authorized concur for the treatment of agitation is allowed, but if treated with acetylcholineste and memantine, psychotropic drugs (neuroleptics, antidepressants, benzod ...
... The inclusion criteria are the following: age ≥ 65 years; MMSE ≤ 12; informed consent signed by a legal representative. In particular, since GDS [68] and FAST [69] staging combined assessments exert nearly three times AD variance in the temporal course with respect to MMSE, that is the change in measure versus the change in time [70,71], AD staging for inclusion will be of GDS/FAST > 5. Patients with a diagnosis of AD based on the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM)-5 will be enrolled and recruited independently on presumed pain or agitation. The assumption of needed authorized concurrent therapies for the treatment of agitation is allowed, but if treated with acetylcholinesterase inhibitors and memantine, psychotropic drugs (neuroleptics, antidepressants, benzodiazepines, and mood stabilizers), anti-inflammatory and analgesics, these will have to be kept stable for 4 weeks before recruitment to be included. ...
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Up to 80% of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients in nursing homes experiences chronic pain and 97% develops fluctuant neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS). Agitation, associated with unrelieved pain, is managed through antipsychotics and may increase the risk of death. Evidence is accumulating in favor of analgesia for a safer, effective therapy of agitation. The Italian version of Mobilization–Observation–Behavior–Intensity–Dementia, I-MOBID2, recently validated in the Italian setting, shows: good scale content validity index (0.89), high construct validity (Spearman rank-order correlation Rho = 0.748), reliable internal consistency (Cronbach’s α coefficient = 0.751), good-excellent inter-rater (intraclass correlation coefficient, ICC = 0.778) and test-retest (ICC = 0.902) reliability, and good inter-rater and test-retest agreement (Cohen’s K = 0.744) with 5.8 min completion time. This study intends to identify the responsiveness of the I-MOBID2 based on COnsensus-based Standards for the selection of health Measurement Instruments (COSMIN) recommendations, assessing the a priori hypotheses of (1) the efficacy of painkillers administered to severe AD patients after proper pain assessment and (2) the effect of reduction of the Cohen-Mansfield Agitation Inventory (CMAI) score and of agitation rescue medications. This protocol is approved by Calabria Region Ethics Committee protocol No. 31/2017 and follows the Standard Protocol Items: Recommendations for Interventional Trials (SPIRIT) guidelines.
... This retrospective cohort study included 358 patients who were admitted to an advanced dementia outpatient clinic since 2008, located in a university hospital of an upper-middle-income country (São Paulo, Brazil). The inclusion criterion was individuals aged 60 years and older with advanced dementia who were classified as stage 6A or higher by the Functional Assessment Staging (FAST) scale 19 . Patients needed to have at least one outpatient visit before death to be enrolled. ...
... 10,12 It is important to note that these studies were designed to predict only 6-month survival in advanced dementia [10][11][12] or evaluate the prognosis only in nursing home patients [9][10][11][12] . The grading scale most used to determine prognosis in end-of-life dementia is the FAST, which rates the severity of AD 3,19 . This instrument has limitation because it assumes stepwise disease progression. ...
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Dementia is a cause of disability among older adults. Accessing advanced dementia prognosis is a challenge. Objective: The objective of this study was to evaluate the accuracy of the Charlson and Carey indexes in predicting 3-year survival of older adults with advanced dementia. Methods: This is a retrospective cohort study of 238 patients aged ≥60 years with advanced dementia from an outpatient clinic and classified as stage ≥6A by using the Functional Assessment Staging scale. We excluded patients with missing data. We reviewed the semi-structured interview (clinical, sociodemographic, and functional data) from the baseline visit. This information was used to calculate 3-year mortality risks according to the Charlson and Carey indexes. We used Cox proportional hazard models to evaluate the associations of all-cause mortality with both indexes, adjusted for sociodemographic variables. We used Harrell's C measure to determine the discrimination. We calculated the absolute differences between observed and predicted 3-year mortality risks for each index for calibration. Results: In 238 patients, the average age was 80.5±7.8 years, with 36% being men. The median follow-up time was 1.8 years (0.05-3.0). The 3-year all-cause mortality rate was 50% (119 deaths). The Carey index was associated with mortality, with one point increase related to a 15% increase in the mortality risk (hazard ratio [HR]=1.15, 95% confidence interval (95%CI) 1.06-1.25, p=0.001), even after adjustment. Accuracy for the Charlson index and Carey index was 0.55 (95%CI 0.49-0.60) and 0.60 (95%CI 0.52-0.62), respectively, with no difference between them (p=0.44). Conclusions: Both indexes had poor discrimination and calibration performances in predicting 3-year mortality in patients with advanced dementia.
... The NPI measures the severity of 12 symptoms in a patient with dementia (e. g., delusions, anxiety, appetite change) along with the caregiver's distress regarding symptoms (0-Not distressing at all; 5-Extreme). Potential Moderator: Functional Assessment Staging of Alzheimer's disease [63][64][65] The caregiver assesses the stage of AD based on clearly defined descriptions corresponding to deficits in IADLs and ADLs. The scale has high inter-rater reliability and convergent validity. ...
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Background There have been few interventions targeted for rural African American (AA) caregivers of persons with dementia despite their unique cultural, geographic, health-related and socio-economic needs, including relatively less access to—and willingness to engage with—formal supports and resources. One effective intervention, Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), has been found to be culturally acceptable in AA populations; however, no studies have assessed feasibility, acceptability and impact of an adapted mindfulness intervention targeting rural AA dementia caregivers. Aims The purpose of this study is to 1) determine the feasibility and acceptability of a telephone-delivered mindfulness training intervention in decreasing caregiver burden among rural, AA, informal caregiving teams of people with dementia; 2) to explore the effects of the training on caregiver burden and relevant secondary outcomes for both caregiving team members, including emotional regulation, tolerance of uncertainty, emotional and physical health, family conflict within the informal caregiving team, and self-efficacy; and 3) to explore comfort with and willingness to adopt technologies to access mindfulness practices and existing caregiving educational resources. Methods Our study utilizes a single-group, uncontrolled design to assess the feasibility and acceptability of telephone-delivered mindfulness training designed to alleviate burden for rural caregivers of AA individuals with moderate to severe dementia. A care partner—the person who provides additional help —is included in the intervention. The primary outcome is feasibility of the telephone-delivered mindfulness intervention as assessed by an 85% retention rate with completion of at least 6 of the intervention sessions. Pre- and post-participation interviews assess acceptability.
... Has been found to be related to cognitive decline in dementia [38]. ...
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Impaired memory function and challenges in communication affect the ability of people living with dementia to interact with family caregivers socially. The onset of dementia in a family member and the communication challenges that follow can lead to conflict, isolation and loss of closeness in the relationship. I-CARE is a tablet-based technology providing leisure activities specifically designed for people living with dementia to do in tandem with caregivers. The intention is that caregiving dyads engage with I-CARE together, using the activities contained in the system as the basis for positive social interactions. This paper reports on a mixed-methods feasibility study of I-CARE, evaluating the system’s usability and assessing the impact on caregiving dyads. We also explored barriers and facilitators to independent use of the technology among community-dwelling people living with dementia and their family caregiver. Results suggest that I-CARE is a feasible tool to facilitate positive experiences in dementia caregiving dyads. Important relationship outcomes for the participating dyads were enrichment in social interactions, facilitated communication, having a shared activity and relationship sustenance. Successful uptake requires continuous proactive support tailored to the needs and preconditions of users over an extended time until they feel confident using the system independently.
... The methods for evaluating functional abilities were not uniform across hospital districts which reflects the difficulties in using clinically collected data for research purposes. The stage of AD was evaluated with the combination of MMSE (Folstein et al., 1975) and either the Global Deterioration Scale (GDS; Auer and Reisberg 1997) or the Clinical Dementia Rating Scale (CDR; Morris 1997) or written descriptions of independence in daily activities if no GDS nor CDR information was available. For the included mild AD patients with only MMSE available (n = 115), which was 29.5% out of all included mild AD patients (n = 389), a score of 20-30 was used to define mild AD, 10-19 moderate AD, and < 10 severe AD (Perneczky et al., 2006;Hänninen et al., 2010; Working group set up by the Finnish Medical Society Duodecim 2016). ...
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We aimed to evaluate the feasibility of using real-world register data for identifying persons with mild Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and to describe their cognitive performance at the time of diagnosis. Patients diagnosed with AD during 2010–2013 (aged 60–81 years) were identified from the Finnish national health registers and enlarged with a smaller private sector sample (total n = 1,268). Patients with other disorders impacting cognition were excluded. Detailed clinical and cognitive screening data (the Consortium to Establish a Registry for Alzheimer’s Disease neuropsychological battery [CERAD-nb]) were obtained from local health records. Adequate cognitive data were available for 389 patients with mild AD (31%) of the entire AD group. The main reasons for not including patients in analyses of cognitive performance were AD diagnosis at a moderate/severe stage (n = 266, 21%), AD diagnosis given before full register coverage (n = 152, 12%), and missing CERAD-nb data (n = 139, 11%). The cognitive performance of persons with late-onset AD (n = 284), mixed cerebrovascular disease and AD (n = 51), and other AD subtypes (n = 54) was compared with that of a non-demented sample (n = 1980) from the general population. Compared with the other AD groups, patients with late-onset AD performed the worst in word list recognition, while patients with mixed cerebrovascular disease and AD performed the worst in constructional praxis and clock drawing tests. A combination of national registers and local health records can be used to collect data relevant for cognitive screening; today, the process is laborious, but it could be improved in the future with refined search algorithms and electronic data.
... AD was diagnosed according to the Finnish Current Care Guidelines for Memory Diseases [37], which are based on recommendations of the NINCDS-ARDRA [38] and DSM-IV [39] criteria. AD state was evaluated with the combination of MMSE [40] and either the Global Deterioration Scale (GDS) [41] or the Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR) scale [42] or written descriptions of daily activities capability. For cases with only MMSE available (n = 115), a score of 20-30 was used to define mild AD, 10-19 moderate AD, and <10 severe AD. ...
Article
Introduction: The educational background and size of the elderly population are undergoing significant changes in Finland during the 2020s. A similar process is likely to occur also in several European countries. For cognitive screening of early Alzheimer's disease (AD), using outdated norms and cutoff scores may negatively affect clinical accuracy. The aim of the present study was to examine the effects of education, age, and gender on the Consortium to Establish a Registry for Alzheimer's Disease neuropsychological battery (CERAD-nb) in a large register-based, clinical sample of patients with mild AD and nondemented at-risk persons from the general population (controls) and to examine whether corrected cutoff scores would increase the accuracy of differentiation between the 2 groups. Methods: CERAD-nb scores were obtained from AD patients (n = 389, 58% women, mean age 74.0 years) and from controls (n = 1,980, 52% women, mean age 68.5 years). The differences in CERAD-nb performance were evaluated by univariate GLM. Differentiation between the 2 groups was evaluated using a receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve, where a larger area under the ROC curve represents better discrimination. Youden's J was calculated for the overall performance and accuracy of each of the measures. Results: Of the demographic factors, education was the strongest predictor of CERAD-nb performance, explaining more variation than age or gender in both the AD patients and the controls. Education corrected cutoff scores had better diagnostic accuracy in discriminating between the AD patients and controls than existing uncorrected scores. The highest level of discrimination between the 2 groups overall was found for two CERAD-nb total scores. Conclusions: Education-corrected cutoff scores were superior to uncorrected scores in differentiating between controls and AD patients especially for the highest level of education and should therefore be used in clinical cognitive screening, also as the proportion of the educated elderly is increasing substantially during the 2020s. Our results also indicate that total scores of the CERAD-nb are better at discriminating AD patients from controls than any single subtest score. A digital tool for calculating the total scores and comparing education-based cutoffs would increase the efficiency and usability of the test.
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Introduction: The objective of this study was to examine the relationship between dementia severity and early discharge from home health. Methods: This was a retrospective study of 100% national Medicare home health da ta files (2016-2017). Multilevel logistic regression was used to study the relationship of dementia severity, caregiver support, and medication assistance with early discharge from home health. Results: The final cohort consisted of 91 302 Medicare beneficiaries with an ADRD diagnosis. A pattern of early discharge rates across dementia severity levels was not demonstrated. The relative risk for early discharge was lower for individuals who needed assistance with medication and for those with unmet caregiver needs. Discussion: The findings of this study do not support the hypothesis that dementia severity contributes to early discharge from home health. Further research is needed to fully understand key factors contributing to early discharge from home health.
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Background: The number of adults requiring prolonged mechanical ventilation (PMV) including those with cognitive impairment or disorders of consciousness is escalating. We aimed to compare in a long-term acute care hospital (LTACH) mortality and length of stay (LOS) among three age groups (40-59y, 60-79y, ≥80y) of hospitalized PMV patients, and according to consciousness and cognitive state at admission. Methods: We obtained data from the health records of 308 adults aged ≥40 years requiring PMV hospitalized at a Chronic Ventilator Dependent Unit in a LTACH between 01/01/2015 to 06/30/2019 and followed-up until discharge or death or until 12/31/2019. Results: At admission to LTACH, 42.2% of PMV patients were in a vegetative state/ minimally conscious state (VS/MCS); 32.5% were severely cognitively impaired, 11.0% were mildly to moderately cognitively impaired, 12.3% had no cognitive impairment, and 1.9% had intellectual disability/psychiatric disorder. In-LTACH LOS (months) decreased from 34.6 ± 42.6 at age 40–59y, 19.1 ± 22.3 at 60–79y to 14.4 ± 19.3 at age ≥80y (p = .006). In-LTACH mortality was 30.6% for 40–59y, 41.1% for 60–79y and 54.8% for age ≥80y. In-LTACH LOS (months) was 23.8 ± 30.7 for VS/MCS, 15.1 ± 19.5 for the severely cognitively impaired, 10.0 ± 12.8 for mild to moderate cognitive impairment and 18.9 ± 21.9 for those without cognitive impairment (p = .02). In-LTACH mortality was 50.8% for VS/MCS, 58.0% for the severely cognitively impaired, 26.5% for mild to moderate cognitive impairment and 13.2% for those without cognitive impairment (p < .001). Conclusion: In this population requiring PMV, mortality and in-LTACH LOS worsened with age. In-LTACH LOS was longest for VS/MCS patients, who had a mean survival of about two years, followed by those without cognitive impairment and then those with severe cognitive impairment. Mortality was associated with worse consciousness and cognitive state. These findings highlight the importance of discussing end-of-life decisions with patients and family members regarding resuscitation/intubation and the long-term management of these patients.
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To address the issue of mild, moderate, and severe Alzheimer's disease (AD), it is necessary to initially establish some agreement on terminology. In recent decades, these terms have frequently been defined using screening instrument scores with measures such as the Mini-Menal State Examination (MMSE). There are many problems with this approach, perhaps the most salient of which is that it has contributed to the total and tragic neglect of patients with severe AD. An alternative approach to the classification of AD severity is staging. This approach has advanced to the point where moderately severe and severe AD can be described in detail. Procedures for describing this previously neglected latter portion of AD have recently been extensively validated. Staging is also uniquely useful at the other end of the severity spectrum, in differentiating early aging brain/behavior changes, incipient AD, and mild AD. Temporally, with staging procedures, it is possible to track the course of AD approximately three times more accurately than with the MMSE. The net result of the advances in AD delineation is that issues such as prophylaxis, modification of course, treatment of behavioral distrubances, loss of ambulation, progressive rigidity, and the development of contractures in AD patients can now be addressed in a scientifically meaningful way that will hopefully bestow much benefit in AD patients and those who care for them.
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Most dementias in old age are characterized by a progressive course with interindividual variability in pattern and rate of progression. Developing a system for staging such dementia poses a challenge in capturing this variability in a system that will afford comparisons among individuals and predictions of future change. Several core questions underlie the development of such systems: (1) Is there a definable order in which abilities are lost? (2) Which skills and functions should be considered essential for the staging of dementia and what is their relative weight? (3) Can the different skills be captured within one staging system? (4) How is the whole range of function captured, and are the differences between stages clearly defined? (5) Which populations can be rated with each staging system? The determination of this last question is based on understanding which other medical conditions may interfere with the course of dementia and how prior characteristics, such as education, affect ratings on specific scales for the staging of dementia. Several systems for staging dementia in older adults are described. These include the Clinical Dementia Rating, the Global Deterioration Scale/Brief Cognitive Rating Scale/Functional Assessment Staging System, the Six Clinical Phases of Cognitive Decline, the Hierarchic Dementia Scale, and the Functional Capacity Scale. Some aspects of the utility of these systems are reviewed, and the issues for further research are discussed.