Interventions to improve quality of care: The Kaiser Permanente-Alzheimer's Association dementia care project

Debra L. Cherry, Barbara G. Vickrey, Lenore Schwankovsky, Elizabeth Heck, Michelle Plauché, Ralph Yep

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Objective: To improve quality of dementia care in a Kaiser Permanente service area through rigorous dissemination of practice guidelines and social worker support for physicians and patients. Study Design: Pre-post design with practice behavior change assessed by medical record review, and provider and caregiver satisfaction with care assessed by surveys. Methods: A diagnostic guideline and later a management guideline were adopted for use by Kaiser Permanente physicians in metropolitan Los Angeles. Physicians received training based on the guidelines, and social workers provided ancillary support. Eighty-three community-dwelling dementia patients and their caregivers were referred to the project by primary care physicians and then were assessed and followed by social workers. Data were abstracted from medical records to determine whether these interventions led to improved quality of care as indicated by adherence to key care processes derived from the adopted dementia guidelines. Chi-square and t tests were applied to compare guideline adherence and satisfaction rates before and after the interventions. Results: Compared with baseline, higher rates of provider and caregiver satisfaction with Kaiser's system of dementia care were found at the postintervention follow-up. There also were significantly higher rates of adherence to several practice guideline-based quality measures: assessment of cognitive status; referrals to the Alzheimer's Association; and assessments of activities of daily living, decision-making capacity, depression, and wandering risk. Conclusion: Quality of primary care for people with dementia can be improved through guideline implementation with care management support by social workers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)553-560
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Managed Care
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2004
Externally publishedYes


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