Thrive by IU Health

October 22, 2020

Grant Expands Dementia-Support Services in Southern Indiana

Grant Expands Dementia-Support Services in Southern Indiana

“It really does take a village when it comes to dementia care,” said Dayna Thompson, an Indiana University Health Alzheimer’s educator.

A recent $608,000 grant from the Federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is helping Thompson and her team make sure the village is prepared for the job.

As part of the HRSA Rural Health Network Development Program, the grant provided to IU Health Bedford Hospital is supporting the additional staff and resources needed to allow IU Health to expand a successful dementia-services program. Developed to support dementia patients and their care providers, the program delivers direct services to patients and caregivers as well as outreach, training and education for people throughout the community. Through this process, the entire “village” is prepared to accommodate, embrace and support those living with dementia.

Working for the past four years as IU Health Alzheimer’s Resource Service, Thompson and Community Health Coordinator Amanda Mosier have been providing services out of IU Health Bloomington Hospital, striving to create dementia-friendly communities in an 11-county South-Central Indiana area. The grant allows them to add two more staff members and open a Bedford location, which will focus on Lawrence and Orange Counties. Plans also call for a “memory clinic” at a local neurologist’s office and for additional services for medically underserved rural areas.

What sets this program apart from many others, Thompson notes, is that its services are offered free of charge and are not limited to IU Health patients. The team works with anyone in the community interested in learning about dementia care, including physicians, first responders, schools, businesses, students, libraries and more. “We don’t want it to be just us helping people,” Mosier said. “We want to create a better community and healthcare system.”

They already have seen results. For example, a program that connected students with dementia patients was so successful at creating community bonds that many students continued to meet with dementia patients after the program ended.

Thompson and Mosier said they have seen increased demand for dementia services in rural areas, and they have realized that some of the services needed in those areas are different from those needed in Bloomington and other urbanized areas. The HRSA grant will allow them to reach underserved areas with needed services, and also help them model the program so it can be replicated in other parts of the state.

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