Objectives: To design, implement, and assess the pilot phase of an innovative, remote case-based video-consultation program called ECHO-AGE that links experts in the management of behavior disorders in patients with dementia to nursing home care providers.
Design: Pilot study involving surveying of participating long-term care sites regarding utility of recommendations and resident outcomes.
Setting: Eleven long-term care sites in Massachusetts and Maine.
Participants: An interprofessional specialty team at a tertiary care center and staff from 11 long-term care sites.
Intervention: Long-term care sites presented challenging cases regarding residents with dementia and/or delirium related behavioral issues to specialists via video-conferencing.
Methods: Baseline resident characteristics and follow-up data regarding compliance with ECHO-AGE recommendations, resident improvement, hospitalization, and mortality were collected from the long-term care sites.
Results: Forty-seven residents, with a mean age of 82 years, were presented during the ECHO-AGE pilot period. Eighty-three percent of residents had a history of dementia and 44% were taking antipsychotic medications. The most common reasons for presentation were agitation, intrusiveness, and paranoia. Behavioral plans were recommended in 72.3% of patients. Suggestions for medication adjustments were also frequent. ECHO-AGE recommendations were completely or partially followed in 88.6% of residents. When recommendations were followed, sites were much more likely to report clinical improvement (74% vs 20%, P < .03). Hospitalization was also less common among residents for whom recommendations were followed.
Conclusions: The results suggest that a case-based video-consultation program can be successful in improving the care of elders with dementia and/or delirium related behavioral issues by linking specialists with long-term care providers.
Keywords: Long-term care; dementia; telemedicine.
Published by Elsevier Inc.