With funding from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the Wisconsin Alzheimer's Institute and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services collaborated with county-based Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRC) and Care Management Organizations (CMO) located in Richland, La Crosse and Milwaukee Counties, and the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Association Chapter Network to develop a systems approach to promoting diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
The overall goal was to develop a simple but effective cognitive screening protocol in which county staff performed an abbreviated cognitive screen (60-second animal naming task) to all clients age 65 and over and a second more thorough cognitive screen (Cognistat/Neurobehavioral Cognitive Status Examination-NCSE) to those who score positive on the animal naming task.
Cognistat test results were provided to the client’s primary care physician who was offered training in the interpretation of the tests and the differential diagnosis of cognitive impairment.
Physicians had the option to determine the cause of cognitive impairment or to refer for additional testing to a dementia diagnosis consultant. Because cognitive screening and testing were performed by county staff, there was no cost to the patient. After diagnosis, the counties, in collaboration with the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Association Chapter Network, provided care management, education and support to clients and their families.
Though funding for this initiative is no longer available to the counties, some of the counties continue to screen for dementing disorders and refer people with positive screens to their primary care physicians or to local memory assessment clinics.
A complementary project to the Wisconsin Memory Screening Initiative was the Memory Care Connections project funded by the Administration on Aging (AOA). Memory Care Connections provided memory screening, education, information and referral services, and enhanced linkage of medical and non-medical partners involved in memory diagnostic and treatment services for older adults. This project was implemented in four Wisconsin counties or county partnerships (Barron-Chippewa-Dunn-and Eau Claire consortium; Door-Kewaunee consortium; Jefferson County; and Rock County) and involves collaboration with county aging units, human services, local Alzheimer’s support organizations, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute.
Memory Care Connections provided information to older to older adults and aging services organizations that increased awareness of the value of early identification and treatment of dementia symptoms, and provided the same 2-step memory screening as in the Memory Screening Initiative described above. Memory Care Connections staff facilitated referrals of persons with memory problems to physicians for diagnostic assessment and potential treatment and access to community-based support services. Memory Care Connections funding also provided funding for respite services for the duration of the grant.
Though funding for this initiative is no longer available to the counties, some of the counties continue to screen for dementing disorders and refer people with positive screens to their primary care physicians or to local memory assessment clinics. As grant funding has ceased, funding for respite services must be obtained through other resources.
Contact Suzanne Bottum-Jones at 608-829-3302 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on the Memory Screening Initiative or the Memory Care Connections projects.