Alzheimer's and Dementia Care & Cognitive Assessment and Support Clinic

Cognitive Assessment and Support Clinic

    A cognitive assessment is a comprehensive physical that focuses on brain health. It’s a 360-degree look at an older individual’s functional ability, cognition, physical health, mental health and social-environmental circumstances.

     

    Brain health refers to how well a person’s brain functions across many areas. That may include, for example:

    • Cognitive Health – Thinking, learning and remembering
    • Motor Function – Making and controlling movements as well as the ability to balance
    • Emotional Function – Interpreting and responding to emotions

    Brain health can be affected by age-related changes in the brain, stroke, traumatic brain injury, depression, dementia and other conditions.

     

    Aging comes with some cognitive decline. But how do you know the difference between what’s normal aging and what may be due to a health issue? Speak to your healthcare provider if you have concerns about your brain health. Your physician can recommend an evaluation at the Cognitive Assessment and Support Clinic or you may contact us at (928) 775-5567.

    For information on the early warning signs of dementia, check out this list from the Alzheimer’s Association.

     

    Every person is different so the findings of each cognitive assessment will vary. The assessment may reveal, for example, the start of dementia or other conditions that early-on could be mistaken for dementia—amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), depression, Parkinson’s disease or even a small stroke.

    These conditions all affect a person’s ability to think and reason. They also can’t be diagnosed with a simple blood test or during a 30-minute doctor’s appointment. They require a comprehensive evaluation by a multi-disciplinary team of healthcare experts, like the Cognitive Assessment and Support Clinic team.

    A cognitive assessment has the additional benefit of serving as a baseline to measure any future changes in brain health and function.

     

    A cognitive assessment takes a half-day (approximately three hours). The assessments take place at Dignity Health, Yavapai Regional Medical Group in Prescott.

     

    Our cognitive assessments include the individual undergoing the assessment, their primary caregiver and our team of healthcare experts.

     

    Here's an overview of the tests and team members that comprise the cognitive assessment:

    Neurocognitive test
    – A geriatrician and neuropsychologist – an expert in the relationship between the brain and behavior – collaborate on this test.

    Physical exam
    – A primary care physician examines the patient for health issues unrelated to dementia that can affect memory.


    Medication evaluation
    – A clinical pharmacist conducts a medication review of the patient’s prescriptions, over-the-counter medications and more to assess risks, benefits, side effects and interactions.

    Social impacts – A social worker talks to the patient and caregiver about their current living situation: work status, means of transportation, financial management and more.

    Functional assessment – A physical therapist assesses balance issues and challenges walking, both of which are a safety risk and an indicator of certain neurocognitive conditions.

    Nutritional assessment – A review of the patient's diet and a discussion of the ways in which diet can support their brain health.

    Sensory evaluation – Vision, hearing and olfactory (smell) screenings provide sensory information, which impacts brain health.

     

     

    Following an evaluation at the Cognitive Assessment and Support Clinic, patients and the providers they designate will receive a report of the team’s findings. The report will include specific recommendations for follow up.

     

Alzheimer's and Dementia Care

    The ADC program supports patients and their caregivers facing the medical, behavioral and social challenges that surround Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. Our program allows people with dementia to continue living at home with their loved ones for as long as possible. It also decreases Emergency Department visits and hospitalizations, which can be difficult for people with dementia. How does the ADC team accomplish this? We bring together the dementia patient’s primary care provider and community-based services to create a network of care and support for the dementia patient and their caregiver. The ADC team is committed to helping each patient maintain independence to the highest degree possible, with dignity.

     

    Ask your primary care provider for a referral to the ADC program at Dignity Health, Yavapai Regional Medical Group or contact us directly at (928) 327-5504 to schedule an appointment.

     

    Our dementia care specialist is at the heart of the ADC program. This adult gerontology nurse practitioner collaborates with everyone involved in the dementia patient’s care—the primary care physician, the caregiver, professionals from community-based service organizations and the medical director of Geriatric Services at Dignity Health, Yavapai Regional Medical Group. The dementia care specialist – in consultation with the patient's primary care provider – is the chief architect of the dementia patient’s customized care plan. This professional also ensures the plan is implemented and updated as the patient’s needs change.

     

    In-person visits are covered by Medicare and most private insurance plans. Telephone calls and many other services, such as support groups and referrals to community-based organizations, are provided to you at no cost. Do you have other questions about your coverage? Contact your insurance provider for information about your coverage. Our Patient Financial Services team is available to answer questions, too.

     

    While patients and their caregivers are welcome to join the ADC program at any time, the ideal time is immediately after a dementia diagnosis. Getting involved early on in the disease process allows the ADC team to prepare and support the patient and caregiver as dementia progresses.

     

    Home care allows for a more personal, one-on-one relationship between the dementia patient and their caregiver. It’s a familiar, comfortable setting for someone who has dementia. Studies show that people with dementia who live at home – nearly 70 percent of the more than 6 million in the United States with dementia – are healthier and happier. They also live longer. Additionally, in-home care is a more affordable option for many people. The ADC program provides the support needed for someone with dementia to receive care at home. Our team focuses on all aspects of dementia care – medical, behavioral and social – to delay institutional care as long as possible.

     

    “Caregiver confidence” – the ability to effectively support and advocate for a loved one facing illness, like dementia – has been the focus of recent studies. In a nutshell, that research shows that programs structured like the ADC program increase caregiver confidence. The reason? Our ADC team guides you in your new role. We know the resources you need to be effective. That may mean steering you to reputable in-home services—nursing, home-health, meal delivery, cleaning and more. Caregivers who need a break to regenerate, may be directed to agencies that provide respite care during the day or assisted living facilities that offer overnight stays. Additionally, an ADC team member is available to answer caregiver questions 24-hours a day at (928) 775-5567. Managing medications, interacting with home-health aides, and soothing confused or agitated loved ones can be daunting. But the ADC team will be with you on this journey, giving you the support you need to grow in your caregiver role.