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Statewide project to provide care and support to people living with dementia and their care partners

close up photo of a person's hand being held in support by a caregiver

INDIANAPOLIS—An Indiana University School of Medicine statewide project in collaboration with Indiana University Health was recently funded to support people living with dementia as well as their family care partners find more support and resources, thanks to a new $686,000 grant from the National Institute on Aging IMPACT Collaboratory.

The Aging Brain Care Virtual program will be the first study to test dementia collaborative care in Indiana University Health primary care. The project will utilize the IU Health Virtual Hub system for making phone or video calls with the care partners and patients. The main goal will be to support patients living with dementia and family caregivers and the patient’s primary care team.

“People living with dementia and their family caregivers are overwhelmed and stressed,” said Nicole Fowler, PhD, associate professor of medicine and co-principal investigator of the study. “We hope the Aging Brain Care Virtual Program will help us assess if collaborative care management provided virtually meets the needs and addresses the stress for families and people living with dementia.”

The Aging Brain Care Virtual Program will take place over the next two years at 24 Indiana University Health primary care clinics across Indiana. An intervention team will identify 860 patients aged 65 or older living with dementia—430 of them will receive the intervention, while 430 will be in the control group. A dementia care manager will provide a needs assessment, develop a care plan and implement protocols to help the care partner manage dementia symptoms over a 12-month period.

“Through this program, we hope to prove that a scalable, primary care-based intervention addresses the crucial needs of people living with dementia and their care partners,” said Alexia Torke, MD, professor of medicine and co-principal investigator. “This has the potential to improve the quality of dementia care across the country, especially for those who do not have access to highly specialized research centers.”

The grant is part of the Demonstration Projects Cycle 3 award from the NIA IMPACT Collaboratory.

About IU School of Medicine

IU School of Medicine is the largest medical school in the U.S. and is annually ranked among the top medical schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. The school offers high-quality medical education, access to leading medical research and rich campus life in nine Indiana cities, including rural and urban locations consistently recognized for livability.