CONTACT: DEREK MAURER
2130 Medical Laboratories
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-8037; fax (319) 335-8034
Grant will fund study to prevent acute confusion in elderly
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The U.S. Public Health Service has awarded University
of Iowa College of Nursing researcher Kennith Culp, Ph.D., $75,000 to test
the effectiveness of hydration management in preventing acute confusion
in long-term care facility residents.
The two-year study will test whether carefully managed fluid intake
reduces the occurrence of acute confusion among elderly residents of long-term
care facilities, as compared with individuals who do not follow the fluid
intake guidelines. All of the study subjects will be residents of two Veterans
Affairs facilities and two comparable community facilities in Iowa.
Culp, an assistant professor at the UI College of Nursing, said anywhere
from 15 percent to 40 percent of nursing home residents experience episodes
of acute confusion. He and other researchers believe acute confusion has
several causes, including poor hydration, electrolyte imbalance, infection
and the interaction of multiple medications. Culp said his study is the
first to test a single intervention aimed specifically at one of the suspected
causes of acute confusion.
Culp's co-investigator for the study, UI nursing doctoral candidate
Janet Mentes, described acute confusion as "an insult to the brain-it's
not that the brain is damaged, but it misfunctions." The condition
is reversible but may not be recognized by many care providers in long-term
Mentes also observed that Iowa has a comparatively large proportion
of residents over the age of 85, so finding an effective way to prevent
acute confusion could benefit many people, not just those who reside in
long-term care centers.
Culp expects the fluid intake management treatment to have positive
results. "Physiologically, our intervention makes sense," he