A new coalition of experts known as the Hartford Change AGEnts Initiative Dementia Caregiving Network is now working to achieve improvements in services, supports, and care for persons with dementia and their caregivers.
This is the first of several planned networks within the Hartford Change AGEnts Initiative, which was established in 2013 through a grant from The John A. Hartford Foundation. Headquartered at The Gerontological Society of America, Change AGEnts is a multi-year project designed to create change in the practice environment that will improve the health of older adults, their families, and communities.
The co-chairs of the new network are Alan Stevens, PhD, the Centennial Chair in Gerontology at Baylor Scott & White Health and professor at the Texas A&M University Health Science Center; and Nancy Wilson MA, LMSW, of the Baylor College of Medicine and the Houston VA Center of Excellence in Health Services Research. The two are responsible for identifying what is currently known about improving the lives of persons with dementia and their caregivers, and putting into motion ambitious plans to ensure that the best care is provided.
Joining Stevens and Wilson on the network for its initial phase is a multi-sector interdisciplinary team of six experts in the field of dementia caregiving. This includes Christopher Callahan, MD, of Indiana University; Debra L. Cherry, PhD, of the Alzheimer’s Association, California Southland Chapter; Amy Cotton, MSN, GNP, FNP, FAAN, of Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems; Joseph E. Gaugler, PhD, of the University of Minnesota; Lisa Gwyther, MSW, LCSW, of the Duke University School of Medicine; and Katie Maslow of the Institute of Medicine.
The members of this self-directed network will synthesize existing reports and literature in the dementia caregiving field and identify a short list of target areas for change. Once these areas have been chosen, other individuals will be added to the group based on their expertise. Through the network, the members hope to spur innovations in practice, delivery systems, workforce, regulation, and policy, as well as partnerships with organizations or national health care movements.
Within two years, the network’s members will have identified two to three topics of critical importance to the field of dementia caregiving, and established and executed a plan of action. This will be accomplished with public input and in coordination with other initiatives of the Hartford Foundation, GSA, and federal and private partners.