New research identifies priorities for emergency care of dementia patients

MADISON (WKBT) — A new set of research papers set priorities for caring for people with dementia in emergency medical situations.

Dr. Manish Shah, a UW School of Medicine and Public Health professor of emergency medicine, helped co-lead the Geriatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network.

The team started work on the subject in 2020. Papers were published in the Journal of American Medical Directors Association in August 2022.

The United States’ aging population means there are more people living with dementia, and more people with dementia needing care in emergency departments.

The research points out where health care systems can improve their care of people with dementia, including identifying symptoms of dementia and communicating with patients.

“The real issue that we’re trying to get at with this grant and all of this work is to say: here’s how we need to improve the knowledge to take care of people with dementia in the emergency department so they have better outcomes,” said Dr. Shah.

Using National Health Institutes funding, the research team will be issuing grants to health systems and academic medical centers all over the country to perform studies.

The team hopes those studies will lead to better emergency care models for people living with dementia.

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