San Francisco’s Dementia Care Plan – We’re seeing progress!

Here’s what we know about San Francisco:

  • It’s a beautiful city.
  • To fully appreciate those gorgeous vistas, you have to hike up many hills, often at 90 degree angles.
  • The City is known for its sometimes wacky behavior and politics.
  • San Francisco is one of the most progressive cities when it comes to services for older adults and strives to be the most “dementia friendly” City on the planet!

This last item became crystal clear when a group of health care professionals and Alzheimer’s advocates convened last week to participate in an update on San Francisco’s efforts to improve dementia care in our community.

As many of you know, San Francisco’s Department of Aging and Adult Services (DAAS) worked with a team of experts in September 2008 to evaluate the City’s current dementia care services and to prepare a plan and recommendations to address the growing needs during from 2010 to 2020.  In 2009, the group created and published the Strategy for Excellence in Dementia Care, which was the first ever City and County Plan for Alzheimer’s disease. California followed up with its own statewide Plan for Alzheimer’s Disease covering 2011 through 2021.

Once the San Francisco Plan was published, an Oversight Committee was formed in June 2010, tasked with overseeing the implementation of San Francisco’s Strategy for Excellence in Dementia Care.Several workgroups, identified below, are generating ways to implement the Plan’s recommendations.

Training, Education and Standards Workgroup:  includes training and education for the community (caregivers and the general public), professionals working in dementia care, medical providers and “first” responders (e.g. police and firefighters, paramedics, etc.).

Waivers, Pilot Projects, Demonstration Projects and Advocacy Workgroup:  designed to integrate activities such as the transition to Medi-Cal managed care for older adults and adults with disabilities in order to improve dementia care services and resources.

Additional Services and Settings Workgroup: Review permanent housing and long term wrap-around services that allow people to stay in the community for as long as possible, as well as hospital transitions.

Medical Resources Workgroup:  Examine transportable medical records that shift seamlessly between medical settings; develop ways to communicate best practices in dementia care.

The most interactive part of the day was when all 100 attendees brain-stormed the following questions in small break-out sessions.

  1. How can the for-profit business and foundation community contribute to implementing the San Francisco Strategy for Excellence in Dementia Care? 
  2. How do we ensure that people with Alzheimer’s receive the services they need (such as transportation, meal delivery, social/health programs, housing) regardless of whether they live at home, in a residential or nursing facility, or hospital.
  3. How can San Francisco be transformed into a “dementia friendly community?”  For instance, in what ways would our hospitals and emergency rooms have to change to make them dementia friendly?
  4. What non-traditional partners should be included in our outreach to ensure that we answer the above questions in the most creative way, while at the same time ensuring that all of the diverse populations are appropriately served?

As you can imagine, many thoughtful and out of the box ideas were presented.  We’ll follow up with more information for you in the future, but we’d also like to hear from you.  What ideas do you have in relation to the above questions?  I look forward to your responses!

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3 Responses

  1. Lupe Padilla says:

    My husband was diagnosed with dementia in 2007. Each year this illness is getting worse, I know it’s progressive but it’s taken away the man I was married to. Our problem is getting long term nursing home care for him because we don’t qualify for Media-cal. I can only afford a Cna to come for three hours twice a month to help my husband. I know there are group therapies that can help me as a caregiver but I don’t have a place to leave my husband so basically I’m stuck at home majority of time. I love my husband but I need help because it’s getting more difficult to care for him.

  2. Lupe Padilla says:

    My husband can’t do anything for himself, if I put food in front of him he doesn’t know what to do, I have to feed him, he has forgotten how to do everything, I have to do everything for him

  3. Jeni says:

    Dementia patients need special care and attention, they need someone to be always there to take care of them as they will get into worst to worst condition gradually. Take a look to know how to care for these type of people around us.

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