Dementia: Crisis Response System


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Care for people with dementia can be challenging, especially when the person displays behavior which presents a risk to themselves, their caregivers or others. Crisis intervention involves a three-pronged approach: the initial crisis response, crisis stabilization and providing long-term care for people with extremely challenging behaviors.

The efforts of stakeholders across the state demonstrate that local and regional initiatives can be implemented and enhanced to develop broad system improvements and make current crisis systems dementia capable.


  • Expand Capacity for Crisis Response and Stabilization:
    • Promote dementia-capability in the existing crisis response system, including mobile crisis units, law enforcement and other first responders.
    • Encourage development of coordinated local and regional crisis intervention systems.
    • Identify and catalog resources for counties and consortium implementing stabilization strategies.
  • Clarify Procedures for Emergency Protective Placement and Emergency Protective Services:
    • Provide technical assistance and training on the law, policies and procedures relating to crisis response, including emergency protective services and emergency protective placement for people with dementia.
    • Clarify the authority, requirements and procedures for the use of psychotropic medications.
  • Improve Long-Term Care for People with Challenging Behaviors:
    • Identify obstacles to the designation of emergency protective placement facilities.
    • Increase access to trainings related to crisis and caring for persons with challenging behaviors.
    • Identify and pursue options to address facility concerns and incentivize facilities designated to care for people in crisis.
    • Explore the need for specialized facilities for people with dementia who present challenging behaviors.

Milestones Completed

  • Published the results of a survey to establish how mobile crisis and emergency protective placement services are organized and function.
    • Chapter 55 Emergency Protective Placements for Persons with Dementia in Crisis, P-00445 (PDF) (October 2015) describes a survey of adult protective services units and discusses how the Department of Health Services (DHS) will use the results to identify what is working well and where to focus efforts to improve the dementia capability of Wisconsin’s crisis systems. The key takeaway is that almost all counties (90%) reported they do not have access to a sufficient number of facilities willing to accept emergency protective placements of people with dementia exhibiting challenging behaviors.
  • Dementia Crisis Innovation Grants: Round One Final Report
    • Published the final report for Wisconsin’s first round of Dementia Crisis Innovation Grants, Improving Dementia-Related Crisis Response: Results of Six Innovation Grants, P-02327 (PDF). This report summarizes strategies employed and lessons learned by counties that received a Dementia Crisis Innovation Grant from DHS for the period of January 2016 through July 2017. The report is intended to help counties and their community partners take steps to improve the state of crisis response for those with dementia, as well as identify gaps still in need of resolution.
  • Dementia Crisis Innovation Grants: Round Two
    • The Department awarded eight counties grants in a second round of the Dementia Innovation Grants (July 2017). These grants encourage the development and expansion of dementia-capable crisis response systems. The 18-month grants totaled $421,000, with three counties from Round One of the Innovation Grants being awarded funds in Round Two. Through the grants, counties are creating or continuing to build collaborations among key stakeholders, gathering data about system needs, and implementing practices to ensure a more coordinated, dementia-capable approach in supporting persons with dementia in crisis. Following the close of the grant period, a final report will be published that will include the successes and barriers that were identified throughout the grant contract, as well examples of tools created through these grants.

Last Revised: January 12, 2022

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