Implementing dementia care models in primary care settings: The Aging Brain Care Medical Home

Aging Ment Health. 2011 Jan;15(1):5-12. doi: 10.1080/13607861003801052.


Objectives: The purpose of this article is to describe our experience in implementing a primary care-based dementia and depression care program focused on providing collaborative care for dementia and late-life depression.

Methods: Capitalizing on the substantial interest in the US on the patient-centered medical home concept, the Aging Brain Care Medical Home targets older adults with dementia and/or late-life depression in the primary care setting. We describe a structured set of activities that laid the foundation for a new partnership with the primary care practice and the lessons learned in implementing this new care model. We also provide a description of the core components of this innovative memory care program.

Results: Findings from three recent randomized clinical trials provided the rationale and basic components for implementing the new memory care program. We used the reflective adaptive process as a relationship building framework that recognizes primary care practices as complex adaptive systems. This framework allows for local adaptation of the protocols and procedures developed in the clinical trials. Tailored care for individual patients is facilitated through a care manager working in collaboration with a primary care physician and supported by specialists in a memory care clinic as well as by information technology resources.

Conclusions: We have successfully overcome many system-level barriers in implementing a collaborative care program for dementia and depression in primary care. Spontaneous adoption of new models of care is unlikely without specific attention to the complexities and resource constraints of health care systems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aging / psychology*
  • Community Mental Health Centers
  • Dementia / therapy*
  • Depression
  • Humans
  • Models, Organizational*
  • Patient-Centered Care / organization & administration*
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Program Development*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • United States