In 2001, in an effort to improve access to quality dementia diagnostic services, Dr. Mark Sager led the WAI to develop a program to train physicians, nurses, social workers, psychologists, and other healthcare professionals on the standardized assessment and care of persons with memory complaints. These efforts led to the gradual development of a statewide network of 35 WAI Dementia Diagnostic Clinics serving older adults in rural, underserved areas as well as in African American and Latino communities in Milwaukee. Each WAI Dementia Diagnostic Clinic has a core multidisciplinary team and follows a standardized approach to dementia diagnosis. These diverse clinics provide quality care to more than 1,600 new patients annually and function within a wide variety of healthcare systems. This network also provides invaluable data on patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. The data and feedback from these partner clinics enables us to create replicable models of care that can be implemented through the state and beyond to ensure patients are receiving the best level of care regardless of where they reside while simultaneously growing a well-equipped clinical workforce trained to work with patients with dementia.
Simultaneously, Dr. Amy Kind (a national leader in health policy and consultant to the federal government) and her team saw an opportunity to improve their approach to patient care. She recognized avenues that more effectively and efficiently meet the needs of patients with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers. Through innovative research which harnesses engineering principles and technological interventions, Dr. Kind and her team are addressing major issues facing these patients and their caregivers today. Specially designed to identify areas of highly vulnerable and disadvantaged populations, UW-Madison is both developing and disseminating these new and improved approaches.
UW has already done this for the Coordinated-Transitional Care (C-TraC) Program–a low-cost, nurse-led, mostly phone-based intervention designed to improve hospital-to-home transitions and to be particularly applicable in low-resource, rural and safety-net hospital settings. Originally developed at Madison VA Hospital, C-TraC was named a “VA Best Practice” in 2014, has disseminated to multiple VA and non-VA hospitals, and is the focus of a 5-year NIH-funded, randomized, controlled trial targeting patients with dementia. Our team is working to embed our evidence-based programs in the areas where they’re most needed. Ultimately, our primary goal is to eliminate health disparities through innovative research and specially designed clinical programs while increasing access to high-quality, standardized dementia care to ensure Wisconsinites in all corners of the state receive comparable care, whether they are in Milwaukee or Ashland.
In order to achieve our goals, the UW is looking to identify $6.5 million dollars to do the following: