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, 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, prompted then 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 System Redesign 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 System Redesign Plan and others will be included in implementation. Additional comments will be used to guide future versions of the Dementia Care Plan. The System Redesign Plan will be updated and revised as progress is made on the initial priorities and lessons learned along the way.
Dementia Care Survey Comments (PDF, 525 KB)
Frequently Asked Questions
How was the Dementia-Capable Plan created?
In October of 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. From a report from that summit, DHS created a draft Dementia Care System Redesign Plan with a focus on addressing gaps in the current care delivery infrastructure and expanding community and crisis services for people with dementia.
Stakeholders were instrumental in helping DHS create the Dementia Care System Redesign Plan, also known as the Dementia-Capable Wisconsin Plan. 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.
Where is DHS in the process of redesigning the system of dementia care?
DHS has created five implementation teams to focus on the five broad categories described in the Plan, including:
Community Awareness and Services
Facility-Based Long-Term Care
Dementia Care Guiding Principles and Training
Research and Data Collection
Each of the teams has created one or more workgroups and associated workplans for carrying out specific strategies outlined in the Plan. The teams/workgroups are at various stages of moving forward with the workplans and including stakeholders in implementation activities.
How are stakeholders engaged in implementation of the Plan?
Stakeholders are currently involved in implementation in the following ways:
- Each of the implementation teams or their workgroups includes stakeholders as either members or consultants/advisors;
- Stakeholders will have opportunities to participate in periodic regional meetings sponsored by DHS. The meetings will be to provide implementation updates and also ask for stakeholder input on specific topics. The first set of regional meetings is being scheduled in June.
- Opportunities through the DHS Dementia Capable Wisconsin website:
- The website will updated at least monthly with reports on implementation activities in the last month and goals for the next. Stakeholders can sign up to receive notices of these updates.
- A calendar of events on the DHS Dementia-Capable Wisconsin website will be added to keep stakeholders informed of other forums for stakeholders to participate in meetings, conferences, and other educational events related to dementia.
- Stakeholders can also submit comments and suggestions via the website, which will be forwarded to the implementation teams.
When will the Dementia Care System Redesign be implemented?
The Dementia-Capable Wisconsin Plan includes over 40 strategies. Some of the strategies, such as the Wisconsin Music & Memory Program and a Dementia Friendly Communities chat group through a partner agency, Dementia Friendly Communities in Wisconsin, are already underway. Others, such as the development of additional training opportunities and models for dementia capable crisis intervention teams, are in process. You can request regular email updates on the Plans progress by signing up for the listserv.