What sets us apart?
We are devoted to a model of care that encourages participation by our patients’ caregivers.
MemoryCare was established in 2000 in response to the need for a program that could provide excellent medical care for individuals with cognitive impairment and individualized support services for their families and caregivers. MemoryCare welcomes all caregivers to participate actively in every office visit and engages more than three caregivers for each cognitively impaired person enrolled. The organization’s success is directly related to this unique service that is different from any other in the region.
Through this integrated model of care, MemoryCare physicians are able to develop tailored care plans shared with all caregivers and medical providers that help manage the disease as well as possible. To better care for an individual with memory loss requires time and focused attention on both the individual with memory impairment and their caregiver(s).
Our services include:
~ Providing an accurate diagnosis
~ Developing a long term care plan, including respite and in-home care options
~ Prompting to address financial, legal and safety issues
~ Providing caregiver training, counseling and support
~ Helping with behavioral management
~ Coordinating services provided by other agencies
~ Prescribing for disease-specific medications
~ Help filing for assistance for low-income families
~ Assisting with end-of-life decisions and advance directives
~ Provision of written care plan to families in coordination with primary care physicians
~ Guided introduction to our lending library of caregiver resource materials,
~ Education on aging issues to the community and training to other health care professionals in geriatrics
~ Home visitation program in Buncombe County for clinical assessment when needed
~ Time to listen to care needs
MemoryCare’s model is designed to fill a gap in the care for persons with cognitive impairment and their caregivers.
The medical field is making great strides in treating cancer and heart disease, with associated increases in life expectancy. For many people, longer life means dealing with cognitive impairments that make functioning independently no longer possible and requires them to rely more on their loved ones for support. However, as Dr. Margaret Noel points out, “due to privacy safeguards, a physician in a primary care practice doesn’t always feel comfortable talking to anyone other than the patient, yet the diagnosis of early dementia often relies on the observations of someone other than the patient. The greatest frustration for caregivers is that the medical system will not engage them.”
Dr. Noel wanted to “develop a model that would uphold the dignity of persons with dementia who are too often neglected by our fractured health care system and incorporate their caregivers into the evaluation and management process. Failure to do so leads to delayed diagnosis, poor management and great frustration among caregivers.”
By engaging caregivers early in the dementia process, MemoryCare is able to limit inappropriate use of the acute care system, promote advanced care planning, guide establishment of safety routines, prolong time in the home setting, and ease the stresses that dementia can cause.
For these reasons, MemoryCare staff and physicians spend equal time with the patient and their caregivers independently – during the initial appointment and in each subsequent appointment (visit our What to Expect page for more information). We also prioritize connecting our patients’ caregivers with resources and information that will help them manage the stress of caregiving (browse our Caregiver Information page to find support groups and other resources).