Alzheimer's and Dementia Care

Study after study of older adults shows their greatest age-related concerns are loss of independence and deteriorating health. Drill down from there and you’ll find that dementia of any type is among the most feared conditions.

The Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care (ADC) program at Dignity Health, Yavapai Regional Medical Group addresses both of these concerns by providing the infrastructure dementia patients and their caregivers need to maintain their independence. With the support of the ADC team, patients and caregivers can continue living comfortably in the community. And, because of ADC’s approach, they do so with dignity.

Joining the ADC program requires:

  • An active diagnosis of dementia – or a related condition – from a primary care physician, neurologist or other healthcare provider.
  • That the patient is living at home or in a home-like setting and is not in hospice care or a custodial nursing home.
  • A patient-caregiver team—husband and wife or an adult child and parent, for example.
Here's an overview of how the ADC program works:

    This 90-minute, in-person visit with our dementia care specialist takes place at the patient’s home or at Yavapai Regional Medical Group, Geriatric Services. The discussion – which includes the patient and their caregiver – is designed to help our dementia care specialist learn about your day-to-day living routine, challenges you face, resources you need and more. Topics discussed include, for example:

    • Medical conditions beyond the dementia diagnosis
    • Emotional issues
    • Network of family and friends
    • Transportation
    • Activities and recreation
    • Diet and exercise
    • Advance directives
    • Financial management
    • Caregiver stress
     

    After the initial assessment, our dementia care specialist develops a care plan in partnership with your primary care provider. This comprehensive plan is your ADC program roadmap. Each plan is crafted to meet the unique needs of the individual dementia patient and their caregiver. For example, adult day care services may be recommended for a dementia patient whose caregiver works. Home meal delivery could be included in the plan for a dementia patient with specific dietary needs.

     

    Communication is an important feature of the ADC program. The patient, caregiver and the ADC program dementia care specialist communicate often by phone or during in-person visits. Each year, or more frequently, they meet to discuss the dementia patient’s ongoing and emerging needs. Additionally, caregivers who need assistance or advice have round-the-clock phone access to the ADC team 365-days a year by calling (928) 775-5567.

     

    Our dementia care specialist works closely with the dementia patient’s primary care provider to develop, implement and evaluate the customized care plan. That’s why it’s important that the patient have regular medical appointments – at least two times a year – with their primary care provider.

     

The Alzheimer's and Dementia Care Program Team


Sam Downing, MD
 

    “We all want our brains to be as strong and vital as possible as we age. We want cognitive vitality. What does that mean? The definition I like the most for the word ‘vitality’ is ‘enduring quality.’ That perfectly describes what we want for our brains as we age."

 

 



Sam Downing, MD
Director of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine
Dignity Health, Yavapai Regional Medical Group

Christina Gettens, DNP, AGNP-C
​ 


   “It's a tremendous challenge to address the complexities of dementia patients in a traditional medical clinic. The Alzheimer's and Dementia Care program partners with healthcare providers – primary care physicians, neurologists and others – to focus exclusively on the dementia diagnosis. Our program supports the unique needs of dementia patients and their caregivers. It closes a gap that exists in our healthcare delivery system.”

 

Christina Gettens, DNP, AGNP-C
Dementia Care Specialist, Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care
Geriatric Services
Dignity Health, Yavapai Regional Medical Group