Multidisciplinary Approach towards increasing Dementia awareness: Incorporating Project ECHO and Alzheimer's Community Forum into the Social-Ecological Model

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2020

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Luk-Jones, Susanna
Jose, Roslin
Severance, Jennifer
Griffin, Melissa

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Purpose: The prevalence of Alzheimer's in the United States is anticipated to increase by three-fold over next forty years. The Social-Ecological Model could be an effective framework in designing interventions to increase dementia awareness. This study uses two different approaches that affect distinct components of the Social-Ecological Model- Project ECHO impacting individual healthcare workers, and community forums increasing the overall community awareness on dementia. Objective: To portray the Social-Ecological model as a framework combining two dissimilar interventions addressing the focal issue of dementia. Methods: The study includes data from the first cohort of Project ECHO, and two Alzheimer's community forums held at Hurst and Arlington in 2019. Participant attendance information and surveys of Project ECHO were analyzed using Excel, and qualitative data from the community forums were analyzed by thematic qualitative analysis. Results: The first cohort of Project ECHO had a total of twenty participants encompassing seven healthcare disciplines, and partaking five sessions on dementia care. At the community level, with a combined total of seventy-five participants, educative sessions on dementia helped increase overall community awareness. Prominent barriers of language, unawareness, and stigma were identified. Major suggestions included increasing translation services, creating awareness, and volunteer recruitment. Conclusions: The Social-Ecological model can be used as a framework to address complex chronic public health issues such as dementia. While Project ECHO increased provider knowledge on dementia, community forums had a three-fold impact of creating awareness, understanding community perspectives, and relaying it to the governing authorities.

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