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Study Suggests Telephone-based Care Coordination Intervention Complements Care for Veterans with Dementia and Supports their Caregivers


VA supports innovative approaches to comprehensive care for more than half a million Veterans with dementia. This article provides a detailed description of a telephone-based care coordination intervention - Partners in Dementia Care (PDC) - developed for Veterans with dementia and their family caregivers across all stages of the disease. The PDC has four key features: 1) formal partnerships between VA medical centers and Alzheimer's Association Chapters; 2) a multidimensional assessment and treatment approach, 3) ongoing monitoring and long-term relationships with families; and 4) a computerized information system to guide service delivery and fidelity monitoring. The PDC intervention also incorporates two key staff positions: a VA Dementia Care Coordinator (VA DCC), and an Alzheimer's Association Care Consultant (AA CC). This study focused on 93 Veterans and their informal family caregivers who completed 12 months in the PDC intervention. Survey data from Care Coordinators also were assessed.

Findings show that, overall, the PDC intervention addresses the diverse needs of Veterans with dementia and their caregivers, including non-medical care issues such as understanding VA benefits, accessing community resources, and addressing caregiver strain. The authors also note that the PDC intervention incorporates several unique features that distinguish it from most other services and programs for dementia caregiving, such as the delivery of the intervention through formal partnerships between VAMCs and local Alzheimer's Association Chapters, the inclusion of family caregivers, and the breadth of issues addressed for both Veterans and their caregivers. The consumer-directed philosophy of the program enabled Care Coordinators to serve a large number of families in a cost-efficient way, since Veterans and families were taking action on their own with support and guidance from VA DCCs and AA CCs.

PubMed Logo Judge K, Bass D, Snow L, Wilson N, Morgan R, Looman W, McCarthy C, and Kunik M. Partners in dementia care: A care coordination intervention for individuals with dementia and their family caregivers. The Gerontologist January 17, 2011;e-pub ahead of print.

This study was partly funded by HSR&D (IIR 04-238). Drs. Wilson and Kunik are part of HSR&D's Houston Center for Quality of Care & Utilization Studies.

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What are HSR&D Publication Briefs?

HSR&D requires notification by HSR&D-funded investigators about all articles accepted for publication. These journal articles are reviewed by HSR&D and publication briefs or summaries are written for a select number of articles that are then forwarded to VHA Central Office leadership to keep them informed about important findings or information. Articles to be summarized are selected by HSR&D based on timeliness of the findings, interest of leadership, or potential impact on the organization. Publication briefs are written for only a small number of HSR&D published articles. Visit the HSR&D citations database for a complete listing of HSR&D articles and presentations.