Dr. Clark joins Joel Weissman, PhD, and a team of researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in an effort to improve surgical decision-making for persons living with Dementia. The study is titled: “Decisions Around Dementia and Surgery” (aka the DecADES study). This is a 5 year multi-institutional mixed methods study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH 1R01AG067507-01) and the National Institute of Aging. The study will include analysis of historical data, as well as, interviews with health care providers, patients, and their families to help better understand surgical decision-making.
Surgical decision-making is challenging for persons living with dementia (PLWD) due to limited longitudinal data on outcomes, a patient’s limited ability to fully participate in the discussion, and an absence of evidence- based guidelines. We propose a mixed methods study to understand the epidemiology of surgery for PLWD, as well as patient, caregiver, and provider practices and challenges of surgical decision-making in clinical settings. We focus on surgery because it is common among elderly PLWDs, it often represents a critical inflection point in quality of life, and therefore is a fraught process for all involved.