Dementia is a devastating condition that affects tons of people worldwide. It is a progressive disorder that impairs memory, thinking, and behavior, and it can profoundly impact the lives of those who go through it, as well as their families and caregivers. The challenges of providing comprehensive dementia care can be significant, but it is essential to break down the barriers and provide the best care for those needing it.
Breaking down the walls means bringing together all the providers and services involved in dementia care. This includes primary care physicians, specialists, social workers, home health aides, and family caregivers. By working together, these providers can create a comprehensive care plan that addresses all the needs of the person with dementia.
The Importance of Comprehensive Dementia Care
Comprehensive dementia care is essential for several reasons. First, it can enhance the quality of life for those with dementia. By addressing all the different needs of the person with dementia, comprehensive care can help them maintain their independence, improve their mood, and reduce their risk of falls and other accidents.
Second, comprehensive dementia care can also reduce the burden on family caregivers. Caregiving for someone with dementia can be challenging and can affect the caregiver’s physical and emotional health. Family caregivers can get the support they need to extend care for their loved ones by providing comprehensive care.
Finally, comprehensive dementia care can also reduce healthcare costs. By addressing all the different needs of the person with dementia, providers can reduce the need for hospitalizations and emergency room visits, which can be costly.
The Challenges of Providing Comprehensive Dementia Care
Providing comprehensive dementia care can be challenging for several reasons. First, it can be difficult to coordinate care between different providers and services. This requires effective communication and collaboration, which can take time to achieve.
Second, dementia care is often complex, requiring a deep understanding of the condition and its symptoms. This can be challenging for providers who are not trained in dementia care.
Finally, providing comprehensive dementia care can be time-consuming and resource-intensive. It demands a substantial investment of time and resources, which can be challenging to obtain in a thin healthcare system.
Handling Controversies with Comprehensive Dementia Care
Despite evidence showing that comprehensive dementia care benefits both those with dementia and their caregivers while also saving costs for Medicare, why is it not as widely available as other medical treatments such as MRI scans, knee replacements, or dialysis? If clinical trial evidence is insufficient, what other information do healthcare providers need to acknowledge comprehensive dementia care as a healthcare benefit? What additional information is necessary to spread this effective care model?
In the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, researchers present evidence supporting the cost-effectiveness of comprehensive dementia care. Over the past 30 years, it was revealed that improved patient and caregiver outcomes and reduced healthcare costs.
For example, the UCLA Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care program reported delayed nursing home admissions and reduced total care costs for medical insurance beneficiaries. Participants in the program had lower total costs due to less emergency department use, shorter hospital stays, staying in their homes longer, and choosing hospice care sooner. People with dementia and their families desire these outcomes, and the program achieved them without increasing costs to Medicare.
Saving money for medical insurance should not be the end goal for people with dementia and their caregivers. They require care that meets their needs and demand services and supports that may not fit current healthcare benefits. We need to rethink how we pay for and think about healthcare for people living with dementia, who are our family, friends, and future selves. While comprehensive dementia care models may save money for medical insurance, the expenses fall on a network of local service providers, patients, and families.
Breaking down the barriers to comprehensive dementia care is essential for improving the quality of life for those with the disease. While there are challenges to providing this type of care, the benefits are significant. With the proper support and resources, managing the disease effectively and maintaining a high quality of life for patients and their caregivers is possible.
The Greens at Greenwich is a Purple Flag community accredited for its excellence in memory care by the Connecticut Assisted Living Association and the Alzheimer’s Association. Our recognition is a testament to the dedication and commitment of the staff in providing high-quality care and support to individuals with memory impairments. If you want to learn more about our team and our part in dementia care in Connecticut, do not hesitate to contact us.
Click to call 203.531.5500 or complete the contact form to Schedule a Tour of our Assisted Living Community with Executive Director, Maria Scaros.
© Copyright 2023 The Greens at Greenwich. All Rights Reserved.