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    Scranton, Pa. (July 27, 2020) - The Wright Center for Community Health’s new Alzheimer’s and Dementia Clinic is one of only eight health systems across the country selected as an adopter of the innovative Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Program created at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

    UCLA’s award-winning Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Program is designed to help patients and their families with the complex medical, behavioral and social needs of Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia.  Advanced Practice Providers (nurse practitioners or physician assistants) and Dementia Care Specialists are at the heart of the program, and work with the patient’s primary care doctor/specialist to create and implement a personalized care plan. 

    By adopting the UCLA program, The Wright Center’s Alzheimer’s and Dementia Clinic now offers dementia patients an individually tailored care plan that builds in medical needs, solutions for caregiver stress and cultural traditions unique to each person and their family. 

    “This new program will help vulnerable older people who tend to get overlooked. So many elders don’t get the attention and care that they need – and deserve – for chronic conditions. Seniors face unique healthcare challenges, including social isolation and lack of support services, that must be addressed to preserve their ability to age in place with dignity. For cognitive conditions such as Alzheimer’s and other dementias, early detection and diagnosis enables access to symptomatic treatments, more time for critical care planning, better disease management and an opportunity for diagnosed individuals to have a voice in their future care,” explained Susan Scanland, CRNP, who brings nearly 40 years of experience with dementia and geriatrics to the Wright Center’s care team. 

    The Wright Center’s Alzheimer’s and Dementia Clinic offers 90-minute consultations with a dementia care manager who assesses, evaluates and provides a comprehensive analysis of the patient’s needs; a personalized care plan developed for the patient’s primary care provider; and follow-up care in the patient’s home or at Wright Center clinics. Support is also provided to family members and caregivers in the form of a designated care coordinator who organizes all treatments and in-home services, as well as access to advice and assistance available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, which may reduce the need for emergency room visits and hospitalizations.

    The Alzheimer’s and Dementia Clinic operates out of The Wright Center’s Mid Valley Practice, 5 S. Washington Ave., Jermyn; its Scranton Practice, 501 S. Washington Ave.; and its Clarks Summit Practice, 1145 Northern Blvd., South Abington Twp. Appointments are now being scheduled by calling 570-941-0630. 

    The new Alzheimer’s and Dementia unit is just one component of The Wright Center’s new Geriatric program, already recognized by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement as an Age-Friendly Health System Partner for providing a full spectrum of comprehensive, safety-net primary health and support services for seniors, and for serving as a trusted primary health advisor for seniors and their families to support independent living. The unprecedented growth rate of Pennsylvania’s aging population – compounded by a shortage of doctors and care teams who specialize in the physical, mental and behavioral health challenges specific to seniors – compelled The Wright Center to create a new geriatrics program, which also includes a new geriatrics fellowship program directed by Edward Dzielak, D.O. An alum of The Wright Center’s original residency program and a faculty-physician, Dr. Dzielak leads efforts to develop age-friendly practices as standard operating procedure for The Wright Center's older adult patients. 

    The UCLA Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Program has demonstrated remarkable results in improving health outcomes without raising health care costs. In a new three-year program, funded by a $1.5M grant from The John A. Hartford Foundation, UCLA is partnering to make the program more widely available with adopter like The Wright Center for Community Health and several other organizations, including the Education Development Center, the Gerontological Advanced Practice Nurses Association, the Alzheimer’s Association, and the American Geriatrics Society. The program’s key elements include supporting nurse practitioners to become dementia care specialists, educating patients and their families, building and monitoring customized care plans.

    The Wright Center’s mission is to improve the health and welfare of our community through inclusive and responsive health services and the sustainable renewal of an inspired, competent workforce that is privileged to serve. This mission is carried out in two complementary entities: The Wright Center for Community Health (TWCCH) and The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education (TWCGME).
    TWCCH is a Federally Qualified Health Center Look-Alike with a growing network of nine existing community health centers throughout Lackawanna, Luzerne and Wayne counties that provide safety net, comprehensive primary and preventive healthcare, including medical, dental, mental health/substance abuse and Ryan White HIV services, to medically underserved populations regardless of a patient’s ability to pay.

    TWCGME is the largest, national Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education Consortium that is dedicated to training compassionate, highly skilled physicians in community immersed clinical learning networks collectively striving to address our nation’s physician shortage and related healthcare access disparities.

    For more information, visit TheWrightCenter.org.
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