D-Care Study: Finding ways to enhance dementia care

Healthbeat

Geisinger participating in national study

PLAINS TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Getting a diagnosis of dementia can be frightening for fear of losing skills perfected over decades.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, nearly six million people in the U.S. live with dementia. As Eyewitness News Healthbeat reporter Mark Hiller explains, Geisinger is now looking to enroll hundreds of them to help determine the best way to cope with their condition.

While research works toward finding a dementia cure, a new study is trying to find the best way to manage the condition.

“I think this study is actually very important and promising,” said Glen Finney, MD who is director of Geisinger Memory & Cognition Program and a board member of the Alzheimer’s Association’s Greater Pennsylvania Chapter.

The D-Care Study which stands for dementia care brings dementia patients and their caregivers into the problem-solving equation.

Dr. Finney said, “Instead of it just being a bunch of us scientists using theoretical models to say what might help, it’s also getting the input of people who are really living and breathing this problem and say but what’s meaningful.”

Geisinger is one of four U.S. Sites taking part in the D-Care Study which will compare the effectiveness of three different models of care. One type is health system-based care which Geisinger’s Plains Township and Bloomsburg Memory and Cognition Clinics will offer to about half of its study participants.

“You kind of share with them what are your struggles, what are your issues, what are the safety issues, what are the burdens on the people who are trying to fight this disease and you come up with an individualized care plan on how to do that,” said Dr. Finney.

Most of the remaining D-Care Study participants will get community-based care. The Alzheimer’s Association, Greater Pennsylvania Chapter will provide this with regular phone calls and optional in-person visits. A third group will enroll in enhanced usual care and get detailed lists of available local resources, including the Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 help line. Three distinct approaches but one common goal.

“How can we best protect your quality of life and your safety in a situation where we know things do worsen,” said Dr. Finney who encourages any dementia patients who have Geisinger primary care providers to participate.

Participants in the D-Care Study will be randomly assigned to one of the three care model groups. You can sign up by calling 570-808-7215.

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