While our practice specializes in the assessment and treatment of behavioral and psychiatric issues in people with dementia, we believe that in order to do this effectively, one must understand the whole person as best as they can. This is why we request extensive history from outside sources prior to meeting with the patient.
We believe that the treatment of behavioral issues in people with dementia must be personalized in order to be effective. We seek to understand who the person is and where they are coming from through the lenses of life story, relationships, personality, and current circumstances in addition to their medical history, evolution of the dementia, and current circumstances. We don't treat symptoms, we treat people.
We consider it a privilege to work with patients who are in the sunset of their lives and labor with the goal of meeting them where they are and maximizing their safety, comfort, and dignity, even in the face of irreversible conditions such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Disease.
Medications are often a key part of treating behavioral and psychiatric symptoms in most people with dementia. Despite the fact that at some point during their illness most people with dementia will experience one or more of these symptoms (close to 6 million Americans), there are no medications that carry FDA indications to treat them. That being said, medications are usually part of an effective treatment plan and we are often able to recommend medications that are safe and effective in addressing the issues. Our goal is to judiciously utilize medications to treat the symptoms while minimizing risks of side effects and maximizing function and quality of life. Our mantra is "The fewest number of medications at the lowest effective doses for the shortest period of time." Of course, since each person we treat is different, individual prescribing will vary.
Medications are only part of our treatment; we evaluate environmental factors as well. This can include direct advice such as a need for supervision or change in environment as well as working with families and caregivers to improve understanding and communication. Occasionally we even make suggestions to optimize the environment for safety such as removing fall hazards, installing railings, etc.
While dementia is a chronic condition, there can be times of acute exacerbation/development of concerning and dangerous symptoms. We strive to be available to you at all times to answer questions, address concerns, and manage issues as they arise. We respond to emails, texts, phone calls, and faxes regarding established patients typically within hours (including nights and weekends) and only very rarely in more than 24 hours. We believe that effective communication is key to effective treatment and there are no fees associated with this.