New Resource Available on Person Centered Dementia Care in the Hospital Setting

Many older adults living with Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias, or ADRD, experience preventable hospitalization. It is imperative for care team members, including healthcare professionals and family members, to understand the nuances of providing care within this setting. CATCH-ON staff and partners developed a free online course that covers the following important concepts:

  • Module 1: Common causes of hospitalization and how to best provide person-centered care in the hospital setting.
  • Module 2: Communication considerations that facilitate trust, understanding, and person-centered dementia care. We will also focus on person-centered plans of care and discharge plans for hospitalized individuals living with ADRD.
  • Module 3: Function, safety, and developing a person centered plan of care through discharge from the hospital setting.

Completing all 3 modules provides 1 free CE/CME/CNE or Certificate of Completion. Each set of modules should not take more than 1 hour to complete and can be done in multiple sittings.
Enroll today! Please visit http://www.catch-on.org to complete the modules.

New Resource Available on the Treatment of Behavioral Changes in Persons with Dementia

When faced with a dementia diagnosis, it can be difficult to determine the best course of care. CATCH-ON staff and partners developed free online education that:

  • Takes an in-depth look at the nonpharmacologic interventions available to persons living with ADRD and their caregivers
  • Explores pharmacologic interventions that can also address behavioral symptoms
  • Introduces an action plan that takes into consideration pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic approaches, as well as the benefits and risks of each

The topics above are 3 separate modules. Completing all 3 modules provides 1 free CE/CME/CNE or Certificate of Completion. Each set of modules should not take more than 1 hour to complete and can be done in multiple sittings.
Enroll today! Please visit http://www.catch-on.org to complete the modules.

 

Talking about your health care wishes

After an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, it is important to start thinking about and documenting your health care wishes. It’s best to have these conversations between you, your family and caregivers, and your medical team early in the disease progression while you can still understand the issues and make your wishes known.

You may want to create documents like:

  • A living will, which records your wishes for medical treatment near the end of life.
  • A durable power of attorney for health care, which designates a person to make health care decisions when you are unable to.
  • A Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Order, which instructs health care professionals not to perform CPR if your heart stops. Make sure a copy is included in your medical chart.

Learn more about health care, legal, and financial planning for people with Alzheimer’s disease on our website.

What can genetics tests tell me about Alzheimer’s risk?

The causes of late-onset Alzheimer’s (the most common form of the disease, occurring after age 65) are not yet completely understood, but they likely include a combination of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that affect a person’s risk for developing the disease.

Genetic tests are available that can identify genes that can increase the risk for late-onset Alzheimer’s. However, the results cannot predict who will or will not develop the disease. Consequently, genetic testing for late-onset Alzheimer’s is not generally recommended, except for use in research.

If you are worried about changes in your memory or other problems with your thinking, talk to your doctor. If you do decide to seek genetic testing for late-onset Alzheimer’s, be sure to consult with a genetic counselor to help understand the results.

Visit our website to learn more about understanding Alzheimer’s genes.

Dental Care for Persons Living with Dementia

A person with dementia may forget how to brush his or her teeth or forget why it’s important. A caregiver may have to assist or take a more hands-on approach.

Proper oral care is necessary to prevent eating difficulties, digestive problems and infections.  Weight loss and loss of appetite can be associated with poor dental care.  Mouth pain is sometimes overlooked as a cause for increased agitation or other behavioral changes.

In the early stages of Alzheimer’s, preventive dental care is important. Getting check-ups and cleaning and flossing teeth regularly can prevent extensive dental procedures in the future.

During the middle and late stages of Alzheimer’s, oral health may become more challenging. The person may forget what to do with toothpaste or how to rinse, or may be resistant to assistance from others. Sometimes caregivers may need to use the “watch-me” technique to help the person with dementia do the steps associated with appropriate dental care.  Other tips can be found here.

Finding a dentist with experience in providing oral care in persons with dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease are not always the easiest to find.  However, talking with the dentist that is already taking care of a person with dementia may be a good place to start.  Preparing the dental team that a person has dementia may help in making the dental appointment be less stressful for all.

Public Health and Advanced Care Planning for Persons Living with Dementia

 

Advance care planning and end-of-life care are increasingly being considered public health issues in the United States.

The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials recently released Advance Care Planning for Alzheimer’s Patients as a Public Health Issue, an issue brief that identifies the role of state health departments, public health agencies, and healthcare workforce in addressing issues related to end-of-life care and implementing programs that promote advance care planning for people with Alzheimer’s.

The document outlines types of advance directives, barriers, as well as findings to date around implementation. In addition, the resource highlights state and local programs and strategies that have been used for supporting the development and implementation of advanced care planning initiatives.

Medicare Coverage of Care Planning Toolkit for Providers

In 2017, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) began paying healthcare providers for care planning services for individuals with cognitive impairments.

The Alzheimer’s Association, with the help of an expert task force, created a toolkit to help providers understand how to conduct a care planning visit under the new CMS code.

The toolkit includes easy access to validated measures — such as the Mini-Cog™ and Dementia Severity Rating Scale, newly designed assessment tools, and links to helpful resources, including caregivers.

Download the toolkit at www.alz.org/careplanning