Dementia Care System Redesign
Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias are already straining Wisconsin’s long term care system, and the number of people affected is expected to increase dramatically as the baby boom generation ages. Department of Health Services Secretary Kitty Rhoades is committed to changing the way state residents with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are cared for in Wisconsin. The mission is to provide appropriate, safe and cost-effective care throughout the course of the disease.
History of System Redesign
The large numbers of people affected, the devastating impact that Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias have on the affected people and their families, and the significant cost of providing care that can stretch over many years are all compelling reasons for re-examining and improving the dementia care system in Wisconsin.
An additional reason for undertaking the Dementia Care System Redesign now is to provide a system-wide context for addressing pressing issues raised by the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s Helen E.F. decision (exit DHS), issued in May 2012. In the Helen E.F. decision, the Court held that a person with dementia but with no accompanying mental illness could not be involuntarily committed for treatment under Chapter 51 of the Wisconsin Statutes, which addresses mental illness, substance use disorders and developmental disabilities. The Wisconsin Supreme Court further held that a person with dementia as his or her sole condition would more appropriately be subject to provisions under Chapter 55, which covers the Protective Service System for individuals in need of protective placement and services.
The Helen E.F. decision and the related work of a Special Legislative Committee on Legal Interventions for Persons with Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias (exit DHS), prompted Department of Health Services Secretary Kitty Rhoades to call for a redesign of Wisconsin’s dementia care system in order to provide appropriate, safe and cost-effective care throughout the course of the disease.
In October 2013, the Department convened a Dementia Care Stakeholder Summit that brought together 33 key stakeholders with diverse perspectives to identify concrete ways the Department and its partners can work together to make Wisconsin more “dementia-capable” and to identify priorities.
Wisconsin Dementia Care System Redesign Plan
Following the Summit, the Department of Health Services created a draft Dementia Care System Redesign Plan with a focus on steps the Department can take, working with its many partners, to address gaps in the current care delivery infrastructure and expand community and crisis services for people with dementia. In early 2014, the Plan was released as a draft so the Department could seek input from partners throughout the dementia care network. Comments made through a Stakeholder Survey, as well as those provided directly to Department leaders, were reviewed and considered as the Plan was revised. Some of the comments were incorporated into the Plan and others will be included in implementation. Additional comments will be used to guide future versions of the Dementia Care Plan. The Plan will be updated and revised as progress is made on the initial priorities and lessons learned along the way.
Wisconsin Dementia Care System Redesign Plan (PDF, 2.55 MB)
Dementia Care Survey Comments (PDF, 525 KB)
Plan in Action
The Dementia-Capable Wisconsin Initiative has five implementation teams working to put these system redesign plans into action. The teams include:
Below are some of the projects that are currently underway:
Music and Memory
Dementia Care Specialist Program
On April 25th the Department announced the expansion of this position to an additional eleven Aging and Disability Resource Centers across the state. To learn if your community’s Aging and Disability Resource Center has a dementia care specialist program, you can view a map of existing and developing programs is available at http://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/publications/P0/P00658.pdf (PDF, 144 KB).
Dementia Friendly Communities Initiatives
Secretary Rhoades has said from the start that “We are all in this together.” The creation of the System Redesign Plan began with the Stakeholder Summit in October 2013, and stakeholders continue to be critical partners as implementation proceeds. Stakeholders are currently working with DHS in the following ways:
Last Revised: May 19, 2014