Crisis Response System

Overview  Dementia logo

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 two surveys to establish how mobile crisis and emergency protective placement services are organized and function.
    •  Wisconsin’s Crisis Response System: Capacity for Serving Persons with Dementia (P-01072) (PDF,  327 KB) (August 2015) summarizes the status of crisis programs in the responding counties and provides information about training and resource needs for serving people with dementia in crisis. The key takeaway from the survey is that many county crisis units are ill prepared because they lack dementia-specific training, tools to screen or assess people in crisis for dementia, clinicians who specialize in aging or care of older adults, and stabilization facilities for people with dementia in crisis.
    • Chapter 55 Emergency Protective Placements for Persons with Dementia in Crisis (P-010445) (PDF,  298 KB) (October 2015) describes a survey of adult protective services units and discusses how the Department 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.
  • The Department awarded six Dementia Innovation Grants (January 2016) to counties and county coalitions to encourage the development of more dementia-capable crisis response systems.  The 18-month grants, totaling $300,000, reached 12 counties, serving 27% of the state population. Through the grants, counties are building collaborations among key stakeholders and gathering much needed data about system needs and implementing promising practices to be included in a toolkit to share with other counties.



Last Revised: September 1, 2016

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