Primary Care Innovations Can Improve Alzheimer’s And Dementia Care For Patients, Family Caregivers, And Providers

There is an urgent need for innovative interventions to help primary care providers support individuals with dementia and their family caregivers without adding to their already full workload. To be sustainable, these innovations must be accompanied by policy changes that include mechanisms of reimbursement and recognition for practitioners who obtain specialized skills in Alzheimer’s disease and dementia management. In this post, we describe our efforts to disseminate a successful intervention for managing Alzheimer’s and dementia through primary care—the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care (ADC) program. We aim to shed light on barriers and opportunities for dissemination and to draw attention to policy and payment improvements needed to unlock the benefits offered by this model. 

For many people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias and their family caregivers, primary care is their first and sometimes last resource for managing these challenging chronic and progressive illnesses. Primary care practices caring for a rapidly aging population often lack the time, expertise, and resources necessary to provide the kind of high-quality care that can both maximize Alzheimer’s and dementia patients’ health and well-being and minimize the burden that dementia places on family caregivers and systems. The evidence suggests that ADC can help address both of these issues by making care better and more efficient—if policy makers and payers help set the table. 


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