There are an estimated 33,000 Nebraskans currently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia and that number is projected to increase by 21% in 2025 to 40,000. The University of Nebraska Medical Center and the University of California San Francisco recently received a $10-million grant through the US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation to create a family centered model that provides around the clock help and consultations for patients and their caregivers.
Dr. Steven Bonasera is UNMC’s co-investigator for a two year clinical study that provides caregivers an opportunity to connect to a network filled with advice, expertise and resources from some of the top specialists in the world. He says, “We hope our interventions will keep people with dementia at home longer and at the same time lower family and caregiver stress.”
The model is called Dementia Care Ecosystem. Each patient and family will have a navigator who will check in by phone or with personal visits. All the navigators are nurses, social workers and pharmacists with expertise in dementia care. They will triage calls and make sure patients see doctors and nurses when necessary and help with other things that do not require medical expertise. That can include removing fall hazards and assisting families with medical decisions before their loved one reaches a crisis stage.
Dr. Bonasera says they are looking for 900 families in Nebraska and Iowa to take part in this two year clinical study. For more details contact Jackie Whittington at 402-559-6117 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.