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Doctor Care for Dementia Patients the Focus of Pre-Conference

   Portland, Ore.

Improving dementia screening, diagnosis and treatment by primary care physicians is the focus of a Nov. 21 pre-conference for the Gerontological Society of America's annual meeting in San Diego.

The pre-conference, titled "Improving Primary Care Physicians' Care for Persons with Dementia: Effective Strategies," is from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Santa Rosa Room at the San Diego Marriott Hotel & Marina, 333 W. Harbor Drive, San Diego. The cost is $100 for GSA members and $120 for non-GSA members.

The pre-conference is part of the 56th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Gerontological Society of America Nov. 21-25 at the San Diego Convention Center.

Co-sponsored by the Alzheimer's Association and the National Institute on Aging's Alzheimer's Disease Research Centers and Alzheimer's Disease Core Centers, the pre-conference is geared toward educators and administrators interested in improving physician knowledge and practice regarding dementia screening, diagnosis, treatment and ongoing care.

Pre-conference organizer Linda Boise, Ph.D., of Oregon Health & Science University's Oregon Alzheimer's Disease Center, said the event will address the challenges of providing good medical care for persons with dementia through primary care within both managed care and fee-for-service settings, and will identify effective strategies for educating primary care physicians about dementia.

"The issue for many physicians is whether this is something they need to spend a lot of time on given that older people have many other chronic problems or illnesses," said Boise, director of the Oregon Alzheimer's Disease Center's Training and Information Transfer Core. "Dementia is not something you can treat or which will go away, so some physicians, given their time constraints, may say, 'Why should I worry about this?'"

Between 30 percent and 50 percent of Americans older than 85 have Alzheimer's disease or other progressive dementia, Boise said. In 2000, about 4.5 million people suffered from Alzheimer's. By 2050, 11 million to 16 million people are expected to have the disease.

With proper screening, diagnosis and treatment, dementia symptoms may be delayed, which can postpone nursing home placement and help family members better cope with their loved one's illness, Boise said.

The pre-conference schedule is as follows:

9 a.m.-9:20 a.m. - Welcome, Introductions and Conference Goals - Linda Boise, Ph.D., OHSU; Kathleen O'Brien, MSW, Alzheimer's Association; Elizabeth Koss, Ph.D., National Institute on Aging.
9:20 a.m.-9:35 a.m. - Conference Overview - Linda Boise, Ph.D.
9:35 a.m.-10:05 a.m. - Effective Strategies for Changing Physicians' Behavior - Barbara Vickery, Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles
10:05 a.m.-10:45 a.m. - Train-the-Trainer Opinion Leader Model - Lisa Granville, M.D., University of Miami.
10:45 a.m.-11 a.m. - Break
11 a.m.-11:40 a.m. - Computer-Based vs. Small Group Problem-Based Learning - Murna Downs, Ph.D., University of Bradford, United Kingdom.
11:40 a.m.-12:10 p.m. - Consumer Activation - "Partnering with your Doctor" - Debra Cherry, Ph.D., Michelle Plauche, M.S.W., Alzheimer's Association, Los Angeles.
12:10 p.m.-1:30 p.m. - Lunch and Data Blitz.
1:30 p.m.-2:10 p.m. - National Chronic Care Consortium/Alzheimer's Disease Project - Katie Maslow, M.S.W., Alzheimer's Association; David Bass, Ph.D., Blenkner Research Institute, Cleveland.
2:10 p.m.-3:00 p.m. - Alzheimer's Disease Centers: Physician Education Programs - Mary Austrom, Ph.D., Indiana University; Rose Harvey, Ph.D., Boston University; Delores Gallager-Thompson, Ph.D., Stanford University.
3 p.m.-3:15 p.m. - Break
3:15 p.m.-4:45 p.m. - Panel: Discussion of Program Strengths, Dissemination Strategies, Approaches to Evaluation and Recommendations for Next Steps - Alan Lazaroff, M.D., Centura Senior Life, Denver; Richard Fortinsky, Ph.D., University of Connecticut; Brian Mittmen, Ph.D.; Katie Maslow, M.S.W.; Kathleen O'Brien, M.S.W.

Boise said she hopes conference participants develop a better understanding of effective strategies for carrying out primary care physician education related to dementia.

"The planners for the conference want to use what we learned to develop programs in different areas of the country, to translate what we learn into actual programs," she said.

For registration information, contact 314 286-2882 or

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