DIMENSIONS Summer 1998


by Julie Cleveland

Health care consumers and providers alike are concerned about getting high quality care as efficiently as possible. UW researchers are developing and evaluating treatments of Alzheimer's disease (AD) that are both effective and efficient. One of the cornerstones of this research is the development and validation of treatment manuals. Treatment manuals are important in research studies because they enable researchers to adhere to the protocol, so that the study is done the same way for every subject. Treatment manuals also enable other researchers to repeat the original study to see if they achieve the same outcome or results. Once a treatment program has been found to be effective in research settings, the manuals can be provided to clinicians in the community, who then have detailed instructions about how to carry out effective treatments. The research team of Dr. Linda Teri and associates at the UW has led the way in developing such manuals.

Three manuals developed in recent years focus on the treatment of depression, sleep disturbance, and excess disability in Alzheimer's disease. All of the studies were funded by the National Institutes of Health, and include educational information about AD and behavior management strategies. The treatment manuals are meant to be used by therapists who work with people with AD and other dementias. The depression study also includes a caregiver manual, which is used along with the therapist manual.

The Depression Treatment Study manual includes information on identifying and scheduling pleasant events for people with dementia, managing and changing depression behaviors and negative thoughts, and coping with caregiving. The Treatment of Sleep Disturbance in Dementia Caregivers manual includes topics such as how to fall asleep, what to do when you wake up in the middle of the night, and strategies for coping with caregiving and stress. The Reducing Disability in Alzheimer's Disease (RDAD) manual focuses on improving physical health, preventing accidents such as falls, and teaching caregivers how to deal with everyday problems of their relative with AD. The treatment includes an exercise program, caregiver education, and behavior management techniques.

The treatment manuals on sleep and depression have been published, along with outcome data on the effectiveness of the treatments. The RDAD treatment manual will be available once outcome data from that study have been published.

For more information on any of these studies and manuals, contact Amy Moore at 206-685-9169.

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