This pilot project provides caregivers of dementia patients a separate time for education and support with a dementia counselor during the patients' clinic visits. Follow-up counseling for the caregiver is also available.
Central Arkansas Veterans HealthCare System
This project takes place at the geriatric clinic at North Little Rock, part of the Central Arkansas Veterans Health Care Services. The clinic serves veterans over the age of 60, many of whom suffer from cognitive impairment, are low-income and live in rural areas over 2 hours away from the clinic.
Little Rock, Arkansas
How does it work?
The program is run by staff nurses from the in-patient dementia unit who volunteer to be dementia counselors. The nurses carry a "dementia pager" and are available whenever a healthcare provider at the clinic pages them to come counsel a caregiver. The 45-60 minute counseling session is done in a private room at the clinic. The dementia counselors write notes in the patients' charts about the session.
Why is it successful?
Many healthcare providers at the clinic don't have time to provide enough information and support to caregivers, and many caregivers live too far away from the clinic to be able to make a separate visit of behalf of their own well-being. This program addresses both problems. A survey of 45 caregivers who received the counseling services revealed that 90% of them found the service very helpful. Further evaluation of the program is planned.
For more information: www.littlerock.va.gov