College of Nursing a partner in ODA plans for Alzheimer’s Disease resource program
Initiative includes state’s first dementia caregiver center
The Ohio State University
The Ohio Department of Aging (ODA) today unveiled plans for the Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias Statewide Resource Program, a collaborative effort led by ODA in partnership with The Ohio State University College of Nursing, the Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) and several other contributing organizations.
The statewide initiative will use several approaches to build and develop a dementia-prepared caregiver workforce in Ohio. The program’s plans include providing an array of resources to paid and unpaid caregivers and industry professionals, including:
- Training and education resources (in-person and online)
- Statewide screening tools and risk assessment for use in clinical/health care and community-based settings
- Creating toolkits to link individuals with appropriate community services
- Developing a referral process/tool for individuals experiencing cognitive decline
- Opening the state’s first Caregiver Center for Dementia Care at The Ohio State University College of Nursing to support services, research, education and policy development
The new program will draw on the findings and recommendations of the Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias Task Force, established in 2019 by Amended Senate Bill 24. It will also follow recommendations included in the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease (2022) and examine national trends in dementia care.
“By partnering with such a strong collective of organizations, this innovative program will provide a new level of coordination and sophistication in how we support individuals with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, as well as their caregivers, in Ohio,” said Ursel J. McElroy, ODA Director and Chair of the Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias Task Force. “We will provide critical resources and tools, develop a qualified and well-trained workforce, and ultimately improve the lives of older Ohioans and their families.”
The program will first focus on developing and implementing the statewide screening tool and the referral process/tool. The goal is to have these in place by summer 2023. The training curriculum for industry professionals, family caregivers, and the general public is expected to be available by October 2023.
The plan also calls for the opening of a statewide Caregiver Center for Dementia Care in central Ohio this year. The new center will have both an in-person and virtual presence, focused on developing and strengthening the knowledge, skills and support of family and professional caregivers. The center will also emphasize outreach to underserved populations and older Ohioans with the greatest economic or social need.
“We are grateful for a strong cadre of research and clinical practice faculty – with deep experience in gerontology, dementia assessment and caregiving – who wake up every morning motivated to discover new avenues to help older adults living with dementia and to advocate for the caregivers who support them,” said Karen Rose, vice dean and director of the Center for Healthy Aging, Self-Management and Complex Care at Ohio State’s College of Nursing. “This center is a dream that is coming to fruition, and not a moment too soon. It is so easy for caregivers to feel like they’re on an island, and they need and deserve all the support we can provide.”
ODA secured over $4 million in Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services funding through an interagency agreement with ODM, which helped support the Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias Statewide Resource Program.
“Ohio Department of Medicaid is excited to partner with the Ohio Department of Aging to improve both the family and professional caregiver workforce for dementia care in Ohio,” said Ohio Medicaid Director Maureen Corcoran. “Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias impact so many Ohioans and their families. It is incredibly important to help support these caregivers and this project will allow us to do so much more to provide this needed support.”
The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that 220,000 older Ohioans live with Alzheimer’s disease, impacting one out of every nine Ohioans, and likely more due to under-detection.
Additional partner organizations in the initiative include:
- Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging
- MemoryLane Care Services
- Ohio-based chapters of the Alzheimer’s Association
- Ohio Council for Cognitive Health
- Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University
- Summit County Combined General Health District