November is Alzheimer's Awareness Month
Alzheimer’s Awareness Month is a time to spread awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and show support for the millions of Americans living with it. Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that gets worse over time, and persons affected eventually can lose the ability to accomplish daily tasks. Currently, more than 6.2 Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, and this number is expected to surpass 13.8 million by 2060.
November is a month dedicated to not only spreading awareness about the disease, but to the importance of honoring the millions of caregivers that serve those living with Alzheimer’s. For more information and resources on supporting an Alzheimer’s caregiver, please visit the Alzheimer's Association Website.
BCBSRI partners with the Alzheimer’s Association to connect members to their Dementia Care Coordination Program, which is a referral-based program that helps caregivers manage the disease. This program is a referral-based, evidence-informed intervention based on a VA demonstration study that showed improved outcomes and decreased utilization. The program is administered in partnership between the Alzheimer’s Association and a health system. The program is designed to assist caregivers in managing Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.
Referrals are typically initiated by the health system’s care managers. The care manager and/or other identified referral source makes a secure referral to the Alzheimer’s association via fax, email or a HIPAA compliant online form. At the Alzheimer’s Association, a master’s level social worker (a memory specialist) makes a proactive call to the family caregiver to schedule a care consultation within 5-7 days from date of referral. The consultation is personalized and usually an hour long, followed by a written care plan sent to the caregiver and a summary of the care plan sent to the referrer. The program is focused on providing the caregiver with strategies and resources to increase their chance of success in caring for their loved one. The full program lasts for approximately six months. A total of three calls are made to the caregiver during the six-month timeframe to assess progress and provide resources as needed.
As part of the program, the heath system has access to a full range of programs and services, opportunity for co-branding and marketing, family and caregiver education programs by chapter staff, healthcare professional education sessions, and customer service training for non-clinical staff. The caregiver also has access to the 24-hour Alzheimer’s Association crisis line and online resources.
Additionally, the Alzheimer’s Association will share outcomes and utilization data from the program with the health system as it relates to caregiver’s program satisfaction, clinician satisfaction, and self-reported caregiver efficacy with caring for the individual with Alzheimer’s/dementia following program engagement.