WRITER: AMY LILLARD
CONTACT: DAVE PEDERSON
2130 Medical Laboratories
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-8032; fax(319) 335-8034
Release: April 11, 2000
UI researcher receives $1.2 million National Institute on Aging grant
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Kennith Culp, Ph.D., assistant professor in the University
of Iowa College of Nursing, has received a $1.2 million, four-year grant from
the National Institute on Aging to investigate the prevalence of delirium
among elderly patients in rural long-term care facilities. Delirium, which
Culp described as a reversible cognitive disturbance in the elderly, is often
missed as a diagnosis in these communities, which can mean inadequate care
for these patients, he said.
"In long-term care facilities, clinicians often use different terms
of diagnosis to label this condition, and elders may be placed in nursing
homes simply because they are confused and presumed to be 'demented,' "
Culp said. "In rural communities, detection of delirium is even more
difficult because the primary care provider is generally not immediately available
in the facility to conduct an assessment. This makes delirium potentially
a catastrophic illness.
"Care providers, including nursing home staff, often fail to diagnose
this illness," he continued. "As a result, elders with delirium
in long term care receive inadequate care and treatment."
Culp said his study is one of the first to look at delirium in rural nursing
home settings. The investigation will estimate the prevalence of delirium
among long-term care patients and identify its natural history, such as onset,
duration and resolution of the delirium. The study also will identify the
risk factors for the illness.
The ultimate goal, Culp said, is to develop effective delirium intervention
strategies specifically designed for long-term care patients. Culp's co-investigator
on the study is Bonnie Wakefield, Ph.D., a research scientist at the Iowa
City Veteran Affairs Medical Center and adjunct assistant professor in the
UI College of Nursing.