JERMYN, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — The Wright Center for Community Health Physician Edward Dzielak routinely treats geriatric patients. Now, he’s providing care to other patients with dementia through an award-winning program.
“Dementia is really poorly serviced. These patients don’t get the proper care that they should be receiving,” said Dr. Edward Dzielak, program director of the Geriatric Fellowship Program at The Wright Center.
The Wright Center has become one of eight health systems nationwide to adopt a UCLA model of Alzheimer’s and dementia care. The program has received an innovation in health care award.
“To provide them care that would help support independence, help them maintain their dignity and try to give them help that they and their caregivers need,” said Dzielak.
The Alzheimer’s Association reports more than 16 million Americans provide unpaid care to someone living with Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia. Dr. Dzielak says after dementia patients are referred to The Wright Center’s Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care program, they undergo an evaluation and receive an in-person visit from the geriatric nurse specialist to assess all of their needs.
“In terms of medical, behavioral, social support, their medications, home safety, fall risk and develops a care plan for that individual,” said Dzielak.
The Wright Center works hand-in-hand with the dementia patient’s personal physician to develop the best, personalized care plan possible.
“It’s a game changer. It gives us a lot of support not only for ourselves but also for all primary care physicians,” said Dzielak.
It’s important to note that families and patients don’t need to be Wright Center patients to participate, they can keep their doctor.
Right now the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Program is available at The Wright Center’s Jermyn, Clarks Summit and Scranton sites. It hopes to expand to sites like this one here in Luzerne County.