LUZERNE COUNTY, Pa. -- An estimated 6 million people in the United States are living with dementia.
Geisinger is now enrolling dementia patients and their caregivers in a national research study. It's looking to compare three different models of care.
The D-Care study is enrolling dementia patients and their caregivers in what Dr. Glen Finney calls an ambitious and long-term project.
"What it's looking at is enhancing care and being proactive on outreaching to caregivers and people who are fighting dementias of all sorts," said Dr. Finney.
Dr. Finney is Geisinger's director of Memory and Cognition Program in Luzerne County and he's also a board member of the Greater Pennsylvania Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association. Both are involved in the D-Care study, which is supported by national grants and has other sites in Los Angeles and Texas.
Right now, the standard of care for dementia is primarily with someone's primary care physician.
"Really it may be only a few minutes every few months spent on dealing with the ravages of dementia."
This study will compare three different approaches to dementia care. One group will be part of health-system-based care, in which patients will be treated by a Geisinger practitioner trained in memory and cognition.
The second will be part of community-based care, where a social worker affiliated with the Alzheimer's Association will provide regular phone calls and optional in-person visits.
The third will receive what's called enhanced usual care. Patients and caregivers will be given detailed lists of local resources and helplines.
Right now, D-Care is enrolling Geisinger patients because they're primary care doctors need to take part. But Dr. Finney is open to hearing from non-Geisinger patients as well.
"Our D-Care study is open to all people suffering from dementia, as long as they are living independently in their homes, or under the care of someone in their homes, and their primary care providers are willing to participate in that study."
Dr. Finney says hundreds of people are needed for this study, and he's anxious to enroll as many as he can.
Interested patients or caregivers may call 570-808-7215 or check out the D-Care study website.