Blue Cross launches support program for members with dementia, caregivers

PROVIDENCE – Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island is partnering with the Alzheimer’s Association Rhode Island Chapter on a new program aimed at supporting Blue Cross Medicare Advantage members who have been diagnosed with dementia or a condition related to dementia.

The Dementia Care Coordination Program is also open to caregivers for those members.

“We know that caregiver stress is real and a lot to handle. We also know there aren’t many resources readily available,” said Dr. Victor Pinkes, Blue Cross medical director. “There’s a great deal of education that comes with a diagnosis of dementia. The support that this program gives to caregivers – along with a focus on addressing the associated safety issues that accompany dementia – can hopefully intervene early enough to help prevent a health or safety incident, or caregiver burnout.”

The referral-based program lasts for six months, providing caregivers with support, including strategies and resources, to better care for a loved one with dementia.

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Blue Cross says it hopes to bolster home safety and decrease emergency room visits while helping caregivers manage challenging behavior caused by dementia.

“Dementia primarily affects older Rhode Islanders, and one of the main concerns we hear from people is that they want to stay in their home,” said Rosaly Cuevas, Blue Cross behavioral health program manager. “How can we help them do that? One of the benefits of this program is that we can work with members to create a plan, provide tips and support to help them safely remain at home and not be separated from a spouse or loved ones.”

Blue Cross Medicare members can learn more about the program from their primary care doctor, or by calling 401-277-2958.

Elizabeth Graham is a PBN contributing writer.