Diagnosis and Assessment
The University of Rochester Medical Center has played an important role in the assessment and diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease since 1980. The newest clinic program was formed in 2011 and is a combination of two well established successful centers, the Memory Disorders Clinic and the Memory Care Program. These programs joined together to meet the increased demand for providing comprehensive, interdisciplinary care for patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. This is the clinic with which the Finger Lakes ADAC is affiliated.
People come to the Memory Care Program when they, or someone that cares for them, suspects they may be experiencing symptoms of dementia. Other individuals may be referred by their physician to help clarify a diagnosis. Some individuals decide to come to the Memory Care Program for a second opinion after they have already received a diagnosis of dementia. The Memory Care Program offers the following services to help assess and diagnose those referred for care:
- Physical and Neurological Examinations
- Individual and family/caregiver interviews
- Collaboration with primary care/referring providers
- Referrals for additional testing
Patient Management and Care
The Finger Lakes Alzheimer’s Disease Assistance Center funding augments care management services provided through the Memory Care Program. Care coordination is provided by a team, including a social worker, care coordinators from the Alzheimer’s Association, as well as a University of Rochester Medical Center family therapist and psychologist. Comprehensive care plans are developed for all patients and families served through the Memory Care Program. Such care plans help ensure that patients receive the services they need to meet your individual goals.
Development of a comprehensive care plan involves:
- Providing information about diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment plan
- Involving the patient, family members and caregivers in the treatment plan
- Making referrals for additional services
- Prescribing and monitoring medications
- Managing behavioral issues
- Social work/Care management services
- Couples or Family Therapy
- Psychoeducational programs
The ADAC recognizes the important role of families and caregivers. Therefore, one of the priorities of the ADAC is to enhance care management and family support. Patient management and care involves integrating clinic patients and families with the Chapter’s Helpline and the URMC’s Older Adult Services and Institute for the Family to better serve, collectively, the family’s psychosocial, mental health, and psychoeducational needs.
Group and Individual Training
Alzheimer’s Disease Assistance Centers provide periodic training and continuing education to medical professionals and individuals within the healthcare community. The centers provide continuing medical education to primary care physicians to assist them in identifying, evaluating and making a differential dementia diagnosis.
The Finger Lakes Alzheimer’s Disease Assistance Center works in collaboration with the Rochester/Finger Lakes Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, the URMC’s Finger Lakes Geriatric Education Center, and the faculty from the University of Rochester Medical Center to develop and deliver these educational programs. Together they have identified the following topics as most in demand by providers:
- Differential diagnosis of dementia
- Identifying if more than one type of dementia is present
- Diagnosis and treatment of depression in persons with dementia
- Choosing between various medications approved for dementia
- Understanding sex and intimacy with dementia is involved
- How to help caregivers deal with stress
- Understanding guidelines for pre-symptomatic dementia diagnosis
Healthcare providers and aging service professionals throughout the ten county Finger Lakes Alzheimer’s Disease Assistance Center catchment area are encouraged to identify and share training needs with the Alzheimer’s Disease Assistance Center director.
Information and Referral Services
Alzheimer’s Disease Assistance Centers serve as regional information resource centers. They ensure that a well-publicized, centralized clearinghouse of dementia disease information exists for use by health and human services providers, caregivers of patients with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias and the general public. The Rochester/Finger Lakes Alzheimer’s Association provides these services for the 10-county Finger Lakes Alzheimer’s Disease Assistance Center catchment area.
- Individual Therapy
- Caregiver Support Groups
- Behavioral Management
- Psychiatric Medication Management