Dementia Care and Respite Services Program

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Abstract

Summary

In 1987 The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation announced the creation of the Dementia Care and Respite Services Program (DCRSP), the first national demonstration project to focus on day center and respite services for persons with dementia. The intent of this $5.1 million, 4-year (1988–1992) program was to demonstrate that nonprofit day centers could provide financially viable programs and services needed by people with dementia and their caregivers. Seventeen grantees in 13 states, representing 21 different organizations and operating 24 day centers, participated in the project throughout the entire 4 years. The DCRSP has provided the first overview of dementia-specific day programs in the United States, with specific insight as to who is being served (e.g., participant and caregiver characteristics), types of assistance needed in relation to activities of daily living, and the most common behavior problems being exhibited. In addition, results of the 4-year project support the fact that community-based day centers can effectively care for people with dementia, a demand for these services does exist, and families consider these services of sufficient value that they are willing to pay for them out-of-pocket. Results also show that nonprofit day centers can become financially viable programs if attention is given to factors such as providing consumer-responsive services, charging what services actually cost, and having a high level of community visibility. The net result is increased net operating revenue with improved financial performance and enhanced long-term stability.

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