Dementia Care in Times of COVID-19: Experience at Fundació ACE in Barcelona, Spain

J Alzheimers Dis. 2020;76(1):33-40. doi: 10.3233/JAD-200547.


Background: Fundació ACE is a non-profit organization providing care based on a holistic model to persons with cognitive disorders and their families for 25 years in Barcelona, Spain. Delivering care to this vulnerable population amidst the COVID-19 pandemic has represented a major challenge to our institution.

Objective: To share our experience in adapting our model of care to the new situation to ensure continuity of care.

Methods: We detail the sequence of events and the actions taken within Fundació ACE to swiftly adapt our face-to-face model of care to one based on telemedicine consultations. We characterize individuals under follow-up by the Memory Unit from 2017 to 2019 and compare the number of weekly visits in 2020 performed before and after the lockdown was imposed.

Results: The total number of individuals being actively followed by Fundació ACE Memory Unit grew from 6,928 in 2017 to 8,147 in 2019. Among those newly diagnosed in 2019, most patients had mild cognitive impairment or mild dementia (42% and 25%, respectively). Weekly visits dropped by 60% following the suspension of face-to-face activity. However, by April 24 we were able to perform 78% of the visits we averaged in the weeks before confinement began.

Discussion: We have shown that Fundació ACE model of care has been able to successfully adapt to a health and social critical situation as COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, we were able to guarantee the continuity of care while preserving the safety of patients, families, and professionals. We also seized the opportunity to improve our model of care.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; coronavirus; mild cognitive impairment; pandemics; telemedicine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Betacoronavirus*
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Coronavirus Infections / psychology
  • Coronavirus Infections / therapy*
  • Dementia / epidemiology
  • Dementia / psychology
  • Dementia / therapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Holistic Health* / trends
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pandemics
  • Patient-Centered Care / methods*
  • Patient-Centered Care / trends
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology
  • Pneumonia, Viral / psychology
  • Pneumonia, Viral / therapy*
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Telemedicine / methods*
  • Telemedicine / trends