The primary objective of this Career Development Award application is to enable the applicant to develop the skills and expertise necessary to become an independent investigator focusing on the important role cognitive function plays in the course of medical illness in older adults. Cognitive impairment (CI) often occurs in the context of chronic medical conditions that are common in older adults and likely influences clinical and quality of life outcomes in these high- risk patients, potentially through impaired self-care. Heart failure (HF) is an ideal condition through which to study the impact of CI on disease self-care and long-term outcomes.
The specific aims of my research program are to: (1) prospectively examine cognitive function in patients aged e65 years from the time of hospitalization for HF through 3-months after hospital discharge;(2) prospectively examine the performance of self-care activities from the time of hospitalization for HF through 3-months after hospital discharge;(3) examine the relation between cognitive function and performance of self-care activities at selected time intervals following hospital discharge for HF;(4) develop and pilot test an intervention to enhance self- care practices for HF survivors that is tailored to a patient's cognitive status. A robust training plan will complement this research program and provide the applicant with the tools necessary to be successful as an independent investigator;it will include coursework and focused mentoring in the areas of clinical geriatrics, cardiovascular epidemiology, longitudinal research methodologies, and clinical trial design and implementation. The findings of the work conducted during the award period will have the potential to inform the development of self-care interventions that are tailored to the patient's cognitive status and to improve the health of cognitively impaired patients with chronic medical conditions.
Evidence suggests that cognitively impaired older patients have poor health outcomes including reduced quality of life, repeat hospitalizations, and increased mortality, yet the pathways by which this occurs are not well understood. Understanding the role cognitive impairment plays in patient self-care has significant implications for the design of self-care interventions and for improving the care of older adults with chronic medical conditions.
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