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2015 Grants - Jennings
Effect of a Dementia Care Co-Management Program on Health Outcomes
Lee Jennings, M.D.
University of California, Los Angeles
Los Angeles, California
2015 New Investigator Research Grant
Can a team approach for Alzheimer’s care improve health outcomes while lowering costs?
In response to the rising costs of dementia care, new team-based approaches have been developed to more comprehensively meet the needs of people with dementia and their caregivers. In July 2012, the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) launched the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care (ADC) program, a quality improvement program that uses a co-management model. In the ADC program, nurse practitioner “Dementia Care Managers” partner with primary care physicians and five community-based organizations to provide comprehensive dementia care. The program has enrolled more than 1,100 people and initial data suggests the program positively impacts the quality of care for individuals with dementia. Additional research is needed to determine if this translates into improved health outcomes for people with dementia while also lowering health care costs.
Lee Jennings, M.D., and colleagues will evaluate the co-management model to determine if the program improves health outcomes for patients and caregivers and decreases hospital and emergency department visits. The researchers will determine if the program improves the management of dementia-related behavioral problems and reduces caregiver stress. They will also measure hospital and emergency department visits over a three-year period and in the last 6 months of life for ADC participants compared to a group of UCLA patients with dementia who are not enrolled in the program. This evaluation of the ADC program will help determine if high quality, coordinated care for dementia translates into improved health for patients with dementia and their caregivers.
Improved management of behavioral complications, reduced caregiver stress and better advance care planning have the potential to reduce unnecessary emergency department visits and hospitalizations and, thereby, lower overall cost of care for this vulnerable population. Most importantly, if proven effective, the UCLA ADC program has the potential to be used widely as a national model for improving dementia care and could help improve the health and quality of life for people with dementia.