A growing number of programs to help persons with dementia and their family caregivers are being developed, tested, and implemented in the United States. To learn more about whether and how models of dementia care meet practice standards, 14 components of comprehensive dementia care were identified and site visits conducted to a small sample of programs to assess how they are implemented.
The dementia care components were identified through a detailed analysis of 37 existing clinical guidelines and practice recommendation documents. The 14 identified components differ from most of the clinical guidelines and practice recommendation documents in that they encompass aspects of care for people in all stages of dementia and their families, in multiple care settings, from home to nursing home and medical care settings, and provided by a wide array of medical, social, and allied health care professionals, paraprofessionals, and direct care workers. From a perspective of possible quality or assessment measures, these components are structural or process measures; they are not outcome measures.
Five dementia care programs were selected for site visits from more than 50 possible programs. With only 5 programs, it is not possible to represent the full array of existing programs to help persons with dementia and their family caregivers. Nevertheless, the 5 programs were chosen to represent various program settings and ways of implementing the 14 identified dementia care components. One of the 5 programs was based in a medical clinic, 1 was based in a residential care setting, and 3 were based in community agencies. The purpose of the site visits was to examine how the programs were addressing each of the care components.