DEMENTIA CAPABLE WISCONSIN
The Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute received a three-year federal grant in 2016 from the Administration for Community Living titled, “Dementia Capable Wisconsin: Creating New Partnerships in Dementia Care.” The goals of this project are to help people with dementia live at home as long as possible, reduce the use of unplanned emergency medical services, and reduce caregiver stress and burden. To reach these goals, we are partnering with various community agencies to create innovative programs that are designed to help meet the needs of individuals with dementia and their caregivers. The project has been extended for one more year, and will conclude in late 2020.
EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES VISITOR PROGRAM
In our communities, there are many people with dementia who are living at home alone without in-home support, and some older adults may be more reluctant to ask for help or accept support. As a result, they may be at higher risk for experiencing health and safety consequences that could prevent them in staying in their homes longer. To address this, we partnered with FitchRona (Fitchburg, WI) and Deer Grove (Cottage Grove, WI) Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to create a visitor program to help address the needs, safety, and well-being of these individuals. The EMS visitors meet with individuals referred to them or identified through their ambulance call system, build a positive rapport with them during their friendly visits, and connect them to community support services (eg, senior center case managers) that will increase the likelihood of them staying in their homes.
Read more: Can a “friendly visit” play a role in keeping seniors safe at home? (March 2019, Wisc News Article)
HOME HEALTH CAREGIVER EDUCATION
Most informal caregivers, such as family and friends, do not have the skills or experience to address the medical and nursing needs their loved ones with dementia may have. As dementia progresses, medical issues can become more complex and can result in more frequent emergency room visits or hospitalization, early nursing home placement, and caregiver burnout. We partnered with UW Health Direct (formerly Chartwell Midwest WI Home Health and UW Home Health) in Madison, WI and Heartland Home Health in Milwaukee, WI to implement a training curriculum that teaches caregivers how to identify, prevent, and manage common health concerns in people with dementia. We trained home health nurses, social workers, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech therapists to deliver the curriculum to family caregivers of people with dementia.
SCREENING FOR DEMENTIA IN PERSONS WITH AN INTELLECTUAL/DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITY
People with an intellectual or developmental disability have unique needs when it comes to screening and assessments for Alzheimer’s dementia and other related dementias. As people with intellectual or developmental disability live longer, some are at higher risk for dementia, particularly those with Down syndrome. Screening for dementia in people with an intellectual or developmental disability can help ensure they have equal access to quality evaluations and follow-up care. We developed and implemented training sessions for professionals throughout the state who are working with people with an intellectual or developmental disability to improve their understanding and utilization of the National Task Group-Early Detection Screen for Dementia (NTG-EDSD) tool. The NTG-EDSD was developed to identify subtle changes in behaviors and functioning associated with dementia in individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
When a loved one is diagnosed with dementia, caregivers are rarely given information about the condition or what to expect. The Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute, in collaboration with the University of Michigan-Program for Positive Aging, provided DICE Approach™ trainings to Dementia Care Specialists and other dementia care professionals in Wisconsin, to address the challenges of difficult behaviors associated with dementia. DICE stands for: Describe, Investigate, Create, and Evaluate. This strategy teaches caregivers how to describe or interpret the behaviors caused by dementia, create a response that can work, and then evaluate the outcome. By scheduling an appointment with a trained Dementia Care Specialist or dementia care professional, caregivers can learn tools to evaluate what is happening and how to respond. Effectively using this approach will minimize stress for caregivers and their loved ones, and may help people with dementia remain in their home longer.
To understand and support the work that our partners are doing directly with individuals with dementia and their caregivers, the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute provides consultation services to assist and guide them through the process, particularly with challenging situations. These consultations are provided by social worker Molly Schroeder, CSW; geriatric nurse practitioner, Tammi Albrecht, DNP; and UW geriatric psychiatrist, Dr. Art Walaszek. Aurora Healthcare geriatrician, Dr. Michael Malone, provides additional consultation through the Most Challenging Case Conferences he facilitates.
The WAI Dementia Capable grant team includes: Art Walaszek, M.D., Public Health Pillar Leader, ADISSS Grant Principal Investigator; Molly Schroeder, CSW, Community Dementia Programs Manager; Tammi Albrecht, DNP, Nursing Consultant; Kristen Kehl-Floberg, MS, OTR/L, OT Consultant, Associate Outreach Specialist; and Sydney Russman, Research Specialist.
For more information about Dementia Capable Wisconsin, please email Molly Schroeder.