Our History

A State-Based Coalition to Improve Access to Resources for Cognitive Health

ICRN
Illinois Cognitive Resources Network

Vision
ICRN will make Illinois a national leader in the development and implementation of effective community-based models for adults to access research, education, training, and support services to promote cognitive health and quality of life.

Mission
The Collaboration will leverage strengths of Alzheimer’s Association chapters, Alzheimer’s Disease Assistance Centers, and organizations in the Aging and Disability Networks to optimize the cognitive and functional well-being of Illinois residents and their families.

The ICRN began with a partnership between
Dr. Raj Shah – Rush University Medical Center -Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center
Dr. Darby Morhardt – Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine – Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center
Greg Kyrouac – Southern Illinois University School of Medicine – Center for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders

Background

The ICRN was created in 2012 to develop a state-based model to improve interactions among the aging network, the disability network, state Alzheimer’s Association chapters and state Alzheimer’s Disease Assistance Centers with the overall goal of helping Illinois residents maintain cognitive health by accessing support services, education, research, and training programs.

Many of the reasons the ICRN was develop include:

  • Many residents in Illinois feel disconnected when obtaining services regarding cognitive health. Also, many service providers feel disconnected from other service providers.
  • There is a national interest for more collaborative efforts based on the National Alzheimer’s Project Act.
  • It is not clear how best to translate national agendas and efforts into statewide and local community efforts.

How the ICRN Works

  • The coalition functions through monthly in-person/telephone meetings by stakeholders with agenda and minutes. Time is scheduled to appreciate the language, services, and needs of each stakeholder.
  • Significant collaborative effort has been made to develop an acceptable name, vision, and mission statement. ICRN receives constant feedback from state agencies and stakeholder leadership groups and makes short-term steps to build momentum along with long-term goals.
  • The ICRN is working to help break down the silos across dementia service providers to impact policy and develop a “one stop shop” resource for consumers and professionals to learn about cognitive health and dementia.

Pilot Project

  • Create a single document to disseminate key service program information provided by Illinois Cognitive Resources Network members.
  • Conduct focus groups to obtain qualitative feedback regarding the usefulness of content provided.
  • Obtain metrics of service use by Network member constituents in the prior year to determine the average number of service queries per month.
  • Train front-line professionals to utilize respondent-driven sampling methods to disseminate information about Network member services to hard-to-reach persons who do not commonly seek available services.
  • Determine if respondent-driven sampling methods result in greater service use queries in the one month after dissemination using respondent driven sampling is initiated and whether success rates are influenced by the Network member group initiating the dissemination process.

Outcomes

  • Provide consultation to and collaborate with IL Department on Aging regarding its Dementia Capable State grant from the Administration for Community Living.
  • Coordinate and produce a dementia training video for IL Community Care Program case manager training purposes.
  • Review and provide feedback regarding Community Care Program assessment tool to increase sensitivity to screening for dementia and brain health as well as find opportunities for enhanced case manager training and intervention.
  • Meet with IL Dept. on Aging Director and IL Association of Area Agencies on Aging to inform about ICRN, learn what is important from their perspectives and obtain buy in.
  • Present coalition model at multiple local and State conferences as well as American Society on Aging national conferences.
  • Use of surveying and collaborative process to plan dissemination tool.
  • Increased coalition members’ knowledge about their unique and similar services and resources, thereby breaking down silos and creating opportunities for increased effective collaboration.