Primary care physicians and providers can now screen and evaluate for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias with more confidence and ease, and access tools to manage behavioral issues. The Alzheimer’s Project Clinical Roundtable, a group of neurologists, psychiatrists, geriatricians, and geriatric psychologists, have been working since 2017  to develop tools to assist the primary care providers who will care for the vast majority of patients experiencing cognitive decline, as well as assist their family members and caregivers.

The Alzheimer’s Project is a regional initiative established by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors to address the toll of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias on families, communities and our healthcare systems. More information on the entire Alzheimer’s Project can be found on their website.

While the majority of patients living with dementia can be effectively managed by primary care providers, there are cases that may need further evaluation beyond the scope the primary care provider is comfortable, and appropriate referrals are recommended. Further, should the practitioner not be comfortable with the evaluation, disclosure or disease management of a particular patient, referral to a specialist is recommended

Guidelines Second Edition Now Available!

The Physician Guidelines Second Edition (December 2018) booklet includes screening and evaluation instruments recommended, background research and references, best practices algorithms, and resource tools for caregivers.  The Guidelines is comprehensive, and providers are encouraged to download/print/use those pages most relevant to their situation.

Physician Education

Grand Rounds, on-site education, and conferences are offered throughout the year to inform primary care providers on best practices and new resources.  To schedule a presentation for your health system or practice, contact Barbara.Mandel@ChampionsFH.org.

  • Screening and Evaluation of Cognitive Decline
  • Updates in Research
  • Genetics, Prevalence and Impact of ADRD
  • Behavioral Management of ADRD
  • Pharmacological Management of Behavioral Issues

CME On-Demand Webinars

Champions for Health has partnered with The Doctors Company to offer a series of on-demand courses created by the Alzheimer’s Project Clinical Roundtable. The courses are available free of charge and are approved for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditsTM.  The courses are meant to act as training tools, that can be taken at your own convenience in approximately 15-minute segments. You are encouraged to revisit as needed. Courses are available to all interested; check with your specific professional continuing education guidelines for eligibility to earn credits.  Courses include:

  • Screening for Dementia
  • Evaluation and Diagnosis
  • Addressing & Managing Behavioral and Environmental Signs and Symptoms
  • End of Life Planning, Communications, & Resources
  • Pharmacotherapy for Dementia
  • Pharmacological Management of Behavioral & Psychological Symptoms
  • Q&A: What Physicians Ask About Diagnosing and Treating Dementia

Patient Education Resources

 

New Exam Room Poster to Encourage Conversation on Cognitive Decline

Download and print these 8.5×11 posters for your exam rooms or waiting rooms to encourage patients and family members to consider symptoms and initiate a conversation with physicians and staff.  Posters available in English and Spanish.

Mobile Apps Provide Guidelines & Instruments in Palm of MD Hand – Download to Your Phone Today!

The AlzDxRx mobile application assists physicians to walk through screening and evaluation of patients with cognitive decline while maintaining eye-to-eye contact. Access scoring instruments: MiniCog, AD8, PHQ-9, QDRS, IQCODE, MOCA and SLUMS. Patient identified scores can be emailed to you (HIPAA compliant) for ease in adding to EHR. The app is free and easy to use!

Download the app from your iOS or Android app store today!

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Make sure that your email accepts mail from no-reply@AlzDxRx.com.  In Outlook, you can set this as a Rule, and indicate a level of importance.  Patient test result pdfs may otherwise end up in your Spam or Junk mail.

Have problems? Please do the following:

  1. Delete the app from your phone
  2. Turn off your phone, wait 30 seconds, and turn it on again
  3. Go to your app store (iOS or Android) and download the app AlzDxRx again
  4. Set up your account again, with your NPI and preferred password.  Create Account is in the lower left corner of the screen

For any problems, please contact Barbara.Mandel@ChampionsFH.org.

Screening

Screening may be incorporated into the annual health assessment for older individuals, and a screening may require 10 minutes or more.  The Clinical Roundtable recommends the use of the MiniCog as a quick screening tool, and the AD8 to assess caregiver observations of the patient’s behaviors.  Should these assessments identify cognitive impairment, a more thorough evaluation appointment would be appropriate.  On the right are links to pdfs of the best practices algorithm and recommended screening instruments.

Evaluation

An evaluation can be initiated by a trained RN, PA or other staff to conduct instruments with the patient and/or caregiver. An evaluation appointment may take 45 minutes.  See links to the right for recommended instruments.

Disease Management

Once a diagnosis is made, both behavioral/environmental and pharmacologic interventions may be needed over the course of the disease. Tools listed at right assist physicians to address the needs of patients and their caregivers.

Resources for Caregivers

Assisting caregivers through the disease process may be the most important part of a physician’s care of a patient, and can take considerable time for the provider and office staff. Below are links to pdfs you may want to have available to give to family members to assure a more effective patient appointment and follow-up.  For more information on working with caregivers click here.

Preparation for Doctor’s Visit

Five Action Steps Family Caregivers Should Take

Information and Resources For Caregivers