providing caregivers with non-drug approaches to manage dementia behavioral symptoms
There are an estimated five million people in the United States diagnosed with dementia, a disease associated with a decline in memory that reduces a person’s ability to perform everyday activities. One-third of the costs for care have been linked to behavioral and psychological symptoms, including a need for increased supervision and expensive medications.
University of Michigan’s Helen C. Kales, M.D., and Johns Hopkins University’s Laura N. Gitlin, Ph.D., and Constantine G. Lyketsos, M.D., M.H.S., have teamed up to create WeCareAdvisor. This new web-based tool assists caregivers and long-term care staff with management of behavioral symptoms of dementia (BPSD) patients, and allows for tracking of underlying causes such as pain, sleep patterns, and inadequate nutrition.
WeCareAdvisor uses the “DICE” approach, a step-by-step process to assist caregivers with patient assessment and the management of behavioral symptoms of dementia. At the end of the assessment, a “prescription” is created for the caregiver that offers non-drug approaches for the behaviors dementia patients are experiencing, as well as safety tips and strategies to help reduce stress.
One-third of dementia care costs have been linked specifically to BPSD symptoms. This cost includes the high turnover rate among long-term care staff due to lack of training to effectively treat BPSD, the need for increased staff time spent in supervision, and high costs of antipsychotic medications used to manage BPSD in nursing home settings.
Non-drug strategies are recommended by expert organizations, but have not been used in standard clinical care due to lack of intensive training approaches. WeCareAdvisor uses the “DICE” approach, a step-by-step process to assist caregivers with patient assessment and the management of behavioral symptoms of dementia.
WeCareAdvisor will enable nursing homes to reduce use of antipsychotics and other psychotropic medications by offering solutions to better assess and manage BPSD without medications. There are no other current programs or tools that have been developed for commercial use that use this method of treatment.
- Intellectual Property: IP is copyrighted with “DICE” approach, while Caregiver Survival Guide and WeCareAdvisor are under trademark.
- Commercialization Strategy: Non-exclusive licensing and distribution to long-term care facilities.
- Regulatory Pathway: Not subject to FDA regulatory requirements.
- Engage Investors: Seek partner companies for SBIR/STTR funding. NIH funding for testing.
- Product Launch Strategy: WeCareAdvisor.
- Revise content for nursing home use
- Make necessary changes to WeCareAdvisor tool
- Research potential partner companies for SBIR/STTR mechanism
- Begin long-term care feasibility testing plan
- Carry out nursing home feasibility testing plan
- Conduct higher-level stakeholder interviews
- Work with partner company identified for SBIR/STTR on plans for addressing issues
- Compile, summarize, and analyze pilot data from care providers and stakeholders