SEFAS is a part of the Section for Elderly Medicine, Social Pharmacy and Interprofessional Work-Place Learning (FEST). SEFAS staff currently counts five permanent positions funded by a grant from the Norwegian Directorate of Health, with administrative and research functions including co-research and user representation. The remaining positions are related to ongoing projects, constituting a vibrant research environment with a total of five postdoctoral researchers, nine PhD candidates, and three master students, in 2020. Most positions are financed by the Research Council of Norway (RCN).

SEFAS is directly linked to Neuro-SysMed by the DIGI.PARK project. Other national collaboration partners include the Alrek Health Cluster, the municipality of Bergen, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, the Centre for International Health, and the Norwegian Smart Care Cluster, among others. The group has ongoing international collaboration with researchers from USA (Yale University; Harvard Medical School, McLean Hospital), the Netherlands (University of Leiden), Austria (Joanneum Research, Graz), Romania (Politehnica University of Bucharest),and Japan (Tohoku University), among others. In 2020, this resulted in three applications for project funding led by SEFAS and submitted to EU Horizon 2020, ERC, and the RCN.

Despite the COVID-19 related restrictions, SEFAS held high activity levels during 2020; their annual report is available at SEFAS also figured among the top 10 from the faculty of Medicine, UiB, most frequently featured in media communications in 2020 (Faculty’s Annual Communications Report). Further, two international students have won awards after their stay in Bergen and publications based on COSMOS data. Erika Ito, Tohoku University, investigated the impact of psychotropic drug use on quality of life in people with dementia. Paulien van
Dam, University of Leiden, investigated analgesic treatment and quality of life in this population. As a cultural highlight, the group contributed to the Bergen Festival’s opening day with the Bergen International Summit. The focus of this day was on culture, activity, and health in elderly care.

SEFAS currently has two major ongoing research projects. LIVE@Home.Path is a mixed-method stepped wedge randomized controlled trial including home dwelling persons with dementia and their informal caregivers (dyads) in Bergen, Bærum and Kristiansand. Funded by the RCN, the trial investigates the impact of a complex intervention to improve resource utilization and caregiver burden.

In the initial phase of the COVID-19 restrictions, SEFAS nested a new study, PAN.DEM (PANdemic in people with DEMentia) into the ongoing LIVE@Home.Path trial and interviewed caregivers on their perceptions of the situation and how the pandemic influences the health care service, neuropsychiatric symptoms, use of assistive technology, and social contact. Several articles are published or in preparation, and the research group is actively related to the newly established Pandemic Centre at UiB. Results were also presented digitally at the Technology in Psychiatry Summit, McLean Hospital (28.-30.10.2020) 2020 also marks the initial steps of the ActiveAgeing approach, a collaborative effort between SEFAS, Neuro-SysMed, the GC Rieber Foundations and Helgetun Living Lab. Helgetun is a senior housing project aiming to promote mental, social and physical activity, creativity and healthy ageing, consisting of 31 apartments in rural surroundings near Bergen. ActiveAgeing will investigate the current possibilities for enhanced activity and quality of life in healthy elderly and people with e.g. Parkinson’s disease (PD). Using innovative home-based sensors, the ActiveAgeing project will produce big data to develop AI-based algorithms that can describe and predict function and activity in elderly people. ActiveAgeing also aims to determine how smart housing and health systems can be used to promote healthy ageing and empower individuals to stay active in health and disease. In DIGI.PARK, the group investigates the use of wearable and sensor technology to determine symptom trajectories and prognosis in people with PD, working closely with NeuroSysMed and including participants in parallel with the planned STRAT-PARK study. Collaboration with the Group for Artificial Intelligence, UiB, and the upcoming Incubator, UiB, is established.

Selected Key Publications

1. Husebo, BS, Kerns, RD, Han, L, et al. Pain, Complex Chronic Conditions and Potential Inappropriate Medication in People with Dementia. Lessons Learnt for Pain Treatment Plans Utilizing Data from the Veteran Health Administration. Brain Sci 2021;11:86.
2. Gedde, MH, Husebo, BS, Erdal, A, et al. Access to and interest in assistive technology for home-dwelling people with dementia during the COVID-19 pandemic (PAN.DEM), Int Rev Psychiatry
3. Wagatsuma, S, Yamaguchi, T, Berge, LI, et al. How, Why and Where it Hurts—Breaking Down Pain Syndrome Among Nursing Home Patients With Dementia: A Cross-Sectional Analysis of the COSMOS Trial, Pain Manag Nursing 2021
4. van Dam, PH, Achterberg, WP, Husebo, BS, et al. Does paracetamol improve quality of life, discomfort, pain and neuropsychiatric symptoms in persons with advanced dementia living in long-term care facilities? A randomised double-blind placebo-controlled crossover (Q-PID) trial. BMCMed 2020;18:407.
5. Jong‐Schmit, BEM, Poortvliet, RKE, Böhringer, S, et al. Blood Pressure, Antihypertensive Medication and Neuropsychiatric Symptoms in Older People with Dementia: The COSMOS Study. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry 2021;36:46-53.
6. Vroomen JLMN, Kjellstadli C, Allore HG, et al. Reform influences location of death: Interrupted time-series analysis on older adults and persons with dementia. PLoS ONE 2020;15:e0241132.
7. Gedde, MH, Husebo, BS, Mannseth, J, et al. Less Is More: The Impact of Deprescribing Psychotropic Drugs on Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms and Daily Functioning in Nursing Home Patients. Results From the Cluster-Randomized Controlled COSMOS Trial. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry 2021;29:304-15.
8. Husebo, BS, Berge, LI. Intensive Medicine and Nursing Home Care in Times of SARS CoV-2: A Norwegian Perspective. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry 2020;28:792-3.
9. Husebo, BS, Allore, H, Achterberg, WP, et al. LIVE@Home.Path- Innovating the Clinical Pathway for Home-Dwelling Peoplewith Dementia and Their Caregivers: Study Protocol for a
Mixed-Method, Stepped-Wedge, Randomized Controlled Trial. Trials 2020;21:510.
10. Kjellstadli, C, Allore, H, Husebo, BS, et al. General practitioners’ provision of end-of-life care and associations with dying at home: a registry-based longitudinal study. Family Practice
2020; 37:340-7.
11. Ito, E, Berge, LI, Husebo, BS, et al. The Negative Impact of Psychotropic Drug Use on Quality of Life in Nursing Home Patients at Different Stages of Dementia: Cross-Sectional Analyses from the COSMOS Trial. J Am Med Dir Assoc 2020;21:1623-28.
12. Eriksen, S, Grov, EK, Lichtwarck, B, et al. Palliative treatment and care for dying nursing home patients with COVID-19. Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen 2020;23:140(8).

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