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Local study seeks input from Alzheimer’s caregivers

7/6/2012

MOREHEAD, Ky. (August 1, 2012) – St. Claire Regional Medical Center has received a grant from the University of Kentucky’s Center for Clinical and Translational Science to assess the needs of Alzheimer’s caregivers in Rowan County.

David A. Gross, MPA, St. Claire Regional’s administrative director for education and research, will lead the project. His goal over the coming months is to survey 100 local caregivers about their own health and level of desire for such support services as adult day care.     

“We know the effect Alzheimer’s can have on those who suffer from the disease, and that its impact will only increase as our population ages,” Gross said. “A lesser researched topic, at least in Appalachian Kentucky, is the effect on family caregivers. With this study, we will document Rowan County caregivers’ health and socioeconomic characteristics, as well as whether a need exists for more local support services.”  

Study participants will be recruited from two sources: the Rowan County Caring & Sharing Alzheimer’s Support Group (which meets the first Monday of each month at 6 p.m. in the Center for Health, Education and Research, 316 West Second Street, Morehead) and from the St. Claire Regional Memory Disorders Clinic. Other potential partners include the Gateway Area Development District and the Northeast Kentucky Area Health Education Center.

A stipend is being offered to the first 100 caregivers who complete the survey. A project kick-off event – including refreshments, presentations and study enrollment – is planned for the Rowan County Caring & Sharing Alzheimer’s Support Group’s Aug. 6 meeting. If you are interested in attending, please RSVP to Kristi Helton at (606) 783-6864 or KLHelton@st-claire.org.

St. Claire Regional’s is one of four “community seed grants” awarded by the UK Center for Clinical and Translational Science, which supports evidence-based and evidence-informed health outreach projects. Prior national studies indicate that most Alzheimer’s caregivers are women, aged 55 or older, are married, and have obtained less than a college degree. Other studies suggest respite care and adult day services are advantageous both to caregivers and those who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.  

“Our plan is to use the results of this study to leverage additional funding for an Alzheimer’s caregiver needs assessment of St. Claire Regional’s entire 11-county service area,” Gross said. “This larger project would more accurately reflect whether there is a demand for expanded Alzheimer’s caregiver support services within northeastern Kentucky.”

For additional information, you may contact Gross at (606) 783-6468 or dagross@st-claire.org. St. Claire Regional Medical Center is the largest rural hospital in northeastern, Kentucky and serves as a 159-bed regional referral center.  As a regional referral center, SCR receives referrals from other providers for many of the most serious and complicated health problems including critical/intensive care, advanced diagnostic services, and specialty surgical care - which includes general, cardiac, vascular, urological, gynecological, and orthopedics. SCR also has pulmonology, neurology, cardiology and gastroenterology specialists who provide both inpatient and outpatient services.

With nearly 1,400 employees, SCR is the second-largest employer in the region.  In addition, St. Claire Regional is an established training site for the University of Kentucky College of Medicine’s physician residency programs.  SCR’s Medical Staff is comprised of nearly 100 physicians representing 31 medical specialties.

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