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Physicians Update

 
Spring 2012

Program Aims to Support Families of Patients with Dementia

Although many community-based organizations offer supportive services for patients with dementia and their families, comprehensive programs to meet patients' health needs and the needs of those around them have not been available.

Now there is assistance for those families. The UCLA Alzheimer's and Dementia Care Program has a mission to provide comprehensive, coordinated care, as well as resources and support to patients and their caregivers.

All UCLA patients who are diagnosed with dementia will be enrolled in the program and entered into a dementia registry, and based on an assessment, an individual care plan will be developed. Care plans could include consultations with neurology, psychiatry and geriatrics staff; monitoring for disease progression and complications; participation in support groups; advanced-care planning, with consultations from the UCLA Ethics Center; hospitalization, when necessary, for medical, psychiatric or behavioral problems; referrals to appropriate clinical trials at UCLA's Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer's Disease Research; referrals, where appropriate, to community-based organizations for services; and in-home visits, if needed, for modifications of the patient's physical home environment.

Each patient will also be assigned a nurse practitioner for intensive dementia-care management for in-person and telephone assistance. In addition, help will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for urgent or emergent problems. "This program isn't so much about physician expertise," David Reuben, M.D. says. chief of the Division of Geriatrics. "What we're adding to the traditional care of dementia patients are the things that physicians haven't had time to do or haven't done well - coordinating care and ensuring that all of the family's needs are addressed."





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