Electronic Dementia Behavior Management
For people with dementia, overt behavior gradually replaces clear verbal communication. Inappropriate behavior often leads to disruptive and expensive hospitalizations. The cost of inpatient care for dementia patients at Mayo Clinic amounts to millions of dollars a year.
However, caregivers can generally manage these behaviors with the proper tools and guidance. For 15 years, the Dementia-Behavioral Assessment and Response Team (D-BART) has been making one to two on-site visits a week to nursing and assisted living facilities and patients' homes.
Unfortunately, extensive travel time to local nursing homes has limited this program's capacity. This project aims to change that paradigm and provide electronic consultations:
- Laptops and Skype allow nursing homes quick connections with Mayo Clinic psychiatrists and neuropsychologists when dementia patients exhibit disruptive behaviors.
- Eliminating the need to physically drive to the nursing homes to see patients has opened up greater capacity to see more patients. In the past, care centers often had to wait two weeks for a consultation. Wait times of up to four to six weeks were not unusual. As a result of this new model, 75 percent of all requests are scheduled within one week.
- Prior to starting the teleconferences, the D-BART averaged 5.3 consultations a month. Now, capacity is about 11 consults a month.
D-BART is providing dementia behavior management consultations to local nursing homes using telemedicine.