Martha W. Goodson Center Awarded Financial Grant to Enhance Palliative Care Pathways for Patients with Alzheimer’s and Related Dementia Conditions

October 17, 2023
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The Martha W. Goodson Center is proud to announce it has received a federal three-year grant of nearly $1 million from the Administration for Community Living (ACL) to create and enhance palliative care pathways for those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and other related dementia conditions. The pathways will serve as an innovative standard of care specialized for persons living with memory loss, providers, caregivers and loved ones. In the United States, an estimated 14% of people have been diagnosed with dementia and nearly 9.7% have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. With this diagnosis continuing to rise, health care providers, government agencies and other community organizations are striving to improve quality of life for persons living with dementia (PLWD). 

Palliative care, as defined by ACL, is comprehensive treatment of the discomfort, symptoms and stress of serious illness. It combines a philosophy of care and a range of specific, patient-centered services that focus on improving the patient’s and the family’s overall comfort and quality of life. 

“The journey for someone with Alzheimer’s can be difficult and present challenges for the patient and their loved ones and we are proud to be a care partner to offer a range of supportive services to improve quality of life for all,” says Tina Thomas, executive director of the Martha W. Goodson Center. “We are grateful to receive this grant to further expand and close the gap in memory care services on the Peninsula and Middle Peninsula.”

The Martha W. Goodson Center works closely with Riverside At Home to offer interdisciplinary palliative care teams (PCTs) for patients and their families. PCTs consist of physicians, nurses, physical therapists, medical social workers, pharmacists, patient navigators and other team members with specialized training to meet specific medical, emotional and spiritual needs. Studies show that early involvement of palliative care indicates positive clinical benefits, including significant symptom relief, reduction in hospital readmission, decreased morbidity and improved depression.

In addition to building an innovative care pathway and expanding services offered to persons living with dementia  and their families, the awarded funds will allow Riverside to enhance design and delivery of the existing microlearning educational model and promote social connection programming in underserved areas of Hampton Roads. 

“As an aspect of the grant, we are excited to expand our Memory Café program, which provides a supportive environment for people with memory loss conditions and their caregivers to connect with others experiencing the same diagnosis,” says Denise Butler, geriatric care specialist with the Martha W. Goodson Center. “Our Café plays an important role in providing support on the patient’s journey and to let caregivers know they are not alone.”