VOICE for Families Impacted by Dementia

VOICEThere are 5.2 million Americans who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease today, many of them being cared for at home by over 15 million caregivers. Knowing the unique challenges these caregivers face, Seniorlink is working with Northeastern University’s Bouve College of Health Sciences to test a new program with the goal of better understanding the experience of caregivers of individuals with dementia.

The name of the program is Vital Outcomes Inspire Caregiver Engagement (VOICE) and it’s a home and community-based platform aimed at increasing engagement and results of caregivers and staff caring for people with dementia. By partnering with Northeastern, Seniorlink is gaining a deeper understanding of the caregivers’ needs, and how to better alleviate their stress and ultimately support them to make sure the person with dementia receives the best care possible.

As part of the initiative, registered nurses and care managers are introduced to a new training model for dementia caregivers, created by the Educational Development Center. Northeastern University performed demanding needs assessments of Caregiver Homes staff and caregivers of persons with dementia, which have been used in the development of the training model, educational materials and for reporting purposes.

With the VOICE model of Structured Family Caregiving, registered nurses and care managers engage caregivers through detailed assessments, monthly visits and a caregiver-focused technology platform.

Currently the VOICE pilot program is operating in four out of the 33 Caregiver Home branches nationwide. We’re looking forward to sharing detailed results in the coming months.

VOICE was introduced at the Gerontological Society of America’s Annual Scientific Meeting in November 2015 by Northeastern University’s Carmen Castaneda-Sceppa, MD, Ph.D.; Irina Todorova, Ph.D.; Hope Turner, MSW; Aziza Jamal-Allial, Ph.D. and Alice Bonner, RN, Ph.D.; along with Seniorlink’s David Young, Ph.D.