Dementia Care System Redesign

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Dementia Care Updates


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.

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 Stakeholder Summit Report (PDF, 1.31 MB)

Following the Summit, the Department of Health Services with input from many partners, a final plan was developed to address gaps in the current care delivery infrastructure and expand community and crisis services for people with dementia.
Wisconsin Dementia Care System Redesign Plan (PDF, 2.55 MB)
Dementia Care Survey Comments (PDF, 525 KB)

The Dementia-Capable Wisconsin Initiative has five system redesign topic areas:

Community Awareness and Services

Community Awareness and Services

Community support is critical in sustaining a high quality of life for people with dementia and their caregivers and in helping to delay or prevent the need for institutional care. This component of the System Redesign Plan includes strategies to:

  • Increase understanding and awareness of dementia.
  • Expand early identification and intervention.
  • Provide support for family caregivers.

Facility-Based Long-Term Care

Approximately one in four Wisconsin residents with dementia are cared for in a facility based setting - a nursing home, community based residential facility (CBRF), or adult family home (AFH). People generally enter a facility when they can no longer be cared for in the home setting. These residents tend to be those whose care needs are higher. This component strives to:

  • Address barriers that deter some residential care facilities from admitting and providing ongoing care for residents with dementia related behaviors who require extra care and attention.
  • Continue to improve the quality of dementia care in facility settings.
  • Promote dementia-friendly facility designs.
  • Provide consumers with information about dementia care services.

Crisis System

Crisis System

Care for people with dementia can be difficult, especially if the person becomes self-injurious, aggressive or violent towards others. These kinds of behavior, which are often an attempt to communicate an unmet need, occurs in a small proportion of people with Alzheimer's disease or related dementias. Appropriate response is critical in helping avoid a crisis situation and mitigating a crisis that has developed. This component of the System Redesign Plan is focused on methods to:

  • Expand capacity of crisis response and stabilization.
  • Clarify procedures for emergency protective placement.
  • Improve Long Term Care for People with Challenging Behaviors.

Dementia Care Guiding Principles and Training

Dementia Care Guiding Principles and Training

In order to have a dementia-capable system of care, it is essential to have a shared understanding of what constitutes appropriate and high quality care for people with dementia and to have knowledgeable and supported professional and family caregivers to provide the care. The System Redesign Plan includes the following efforts to develop a shared vision of quality dementia care and to enhance training opportunities:

  • Develop guiding principles for dementia care provided by family caregivers, professionals, care facilities, and other service providers.
  • Encourage voluntary adoption of guiding principles.
  • Catalog and publicize existing dementia care training programs.
  • Provide additional dementia care training opportunities.

Research and Data Collection

Research and Data Collection

To measure the success of the System Redesign Plan efforts, information sources are being revised and updated. The System Redesign Plan includes the following strategies to enhance relevant research and data collection:

  • Develop and implement a data collection plan to facilitate quality measurements related to dementia care.
  • Conduct an inventory of dementia care providers.


Last Revised: June 17, 2015