In this special-edition podcast, Diane E. Meier, MD, of Center to Advance Palliative Care, and Mary Mittleman, DrPH, of NYU Langone Health, discuss why making a dementia diagnosis is important for successfully managing other health conditions, and the many psychosocial interventions which can make a difference for patients, caregivers, and health care teams. Drs. Meier and Mittleman acknowledge the difficulty for making the diagnosis, given treatment options, and offer ideas for integrating better dementia care, from physicians doing memory scans to look for memory loss that is impacting daily function, to being supported with access to the right staff for counseling family members and patients, and other psychosocial interventions.
For background on Dr. Mittleman, she and her team provide support for family caregivers through NYU’s New York State-backed Alzheimer’s Disease & Related Dementias Family Support Program. Focusing on the psychosocial, the team provides interventions via support, education, and referrals which make a difference, and improves quality of life for the family, and those with dementia. A popular result of the program is the chorus, ‘The Unforgettables‘, composed of those living with dementia, and their family members; its members have been performing concerts in New York since 2011.
If physicians could be convinced to do a quick memory screen, and had access to staff who are experts in counseling family members—and the person with the illness—on how to move forward, then I think it would be easier.
Listen to the podcast:
Interview by Dan Altano