Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study tackles aging issues of adults with developmental disabilities

23.05.2005


Nurse practitioners detect health problems not addressed by caregivers



Some 4.5 million Americans have a developmental disability. As people live longer, adults with developmental disabilities are no exception, yet their conditions also bring aging-related challenges. A new study by UCLA and Casa Colina Centers for Rehabilitation reports that a geriatric evaluation and follow-up visits by a nurse practitioner can detect and reduce health problems in this population that often go unaddressed by the healthcare system.

Published in the June edition of the Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, the research suggests that a health screening by a nurse practitioner and follow-up home visits can significantly lower the number of health risks experienced by a person growing older with a developmental disability.


"Persons with developmental disabilities often live in residential settings or with aging parents, who may be growing frail, ill or no longer able to care for them," explained Joan Earle Hahn, assistant professor at the UCLA School of Nursing and consultant to the UCLA Tarjan Center for Developmental Disabilities.

"As these children grow older, they encounter health problems related to their disability," she added. "For example, people with Down syndrome often age prematurely and are at higher risk than the general public of developing cataracts and Alzheimer’s disease."

"We found that an in-home prevention program may play an invaluable role in identifying and addressing these issues before they become major health risks," noted Harriet Aronow, associate professor at the University of La Verne and research psychologist at Casa Colina Centers for Rehabilitation.

The research team studied 201 adults with disabilities who were living in non-institutional settings without nursing care. Their ages ranged from 19 to 79. The study aimed to test whether a comprehensive assessment followed by quarterly in-home visits over a year by a nurse practitioner could improve this population’s health.

The team found a wide array of health problems among the research group, including:

  • Only 32 percent of 167 adults received age-appropriate health screenings, such as for cholesterol, blood pressure, hearing and vision.
  • 59 percent were overweight or obese.
  • 37 percent rated their oral health as fair or poor.
  • 35 percent had experienced recent falls.
  • 33 percent had moderate to severe pain.
  • 28 percent did not exercise regularly.

In contrast, the adults’ health strengths were positively linked to how well they felt integrated into their community and satisfied with their lives. These findings proved unrelated to age, gender and medical care, and were inversely correlated with depression.

"One of the things our research shows is that we really need to develop and investigate programs that promote healthy aging," said Aronow. "We need to help people identify their health risks and strengths, and learn self-care strategies to promote and maintain wellness."

Seventy members of the research sample received a thorough in-home health assessment by a nurse practitioner and an average of three follow-up visits. Each adult averaged five active health problems, with some having as many as 14 problems per person. More than half of the group was obese or overweight, and 20 percent showed symptoms of depression. Hearing loss and pain were also widespread.

"The nurse practitioners detected health problems that affected people’s daily function yet had not been adequately addressed," noted Hahn. "The nurses sat down with each person and explained how to address these problems, such as adjusting one’s diet for weight loss, starting an exercise program or eating more fiber. This is what nurses do easily and very well."

The nurses proposed 1,000 recommendations for 70 people and reduced the average number of health risks from nearly 5 to 3.5 per person. Of their suggestions, 42 percent were preventive, such as annual health checkups, mammograms, vision and hearing tests, flu shots, daily oral hygiene and regular exercise; 37 percent involved teaching patients how to take care of health risks on their own; and 14 percent provided referrals to a specialist or physician for testing or treatment of an active health problem.

"Our findings emphasize the value of nurses conducting comprehensive geriatric assessments and taking the time to help people learn about their health," said Hahn. "Advanced-practice nurses are experts in detecting health problems and teaching people how to manage them."

Elaine Schmidt | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.mednet.ucla.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Antarctic Ice Sheet mass loss has increased
14.06.2018 | Technische Universität Dresden

nachricht WAKE-UP provides new treatment option for stroke patients | International study led by UKE
17.05.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Temperature-controlled fiber-optic light source with liquid core

In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.

Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Graphene assembled film shows higher thermal conductivity than graphite film

22.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

Fast rising bedrock below West Antarctica reveals an extremely fluid Earth mantle

22.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

Zebrafish's near 360 degree UV-vision knocks stripes off Google Street View

22.06.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>