Dementia is a devastating disease for sufferers and their caregivers. Reports estimate that over 7 million people in the U.S. alone had some type of dementia in 2020. If trends continue, that number is set to rise dramatically in the future.
Alzheimer’s Isn’t the Only Type of Dementia
Alzheimer’s is the most well-known form of dementia, but dementia exists in many forms. Vascular dementia, Huntington’s Disease, and dementia related to Parkinson’s Disease are just a few. Managing a dementia diagnosis is entirely dependent on knowing what type of dementia the patient has and how far it has progressed.
There is Hope with Proper Management
A dementia diagnosis may feel devastating, but with proper disease management, the impact and burden can be lessened. That’s where a competent, experienced primary care physician comes into play, like Dr. Kavita Rao and her team in St. Petersburg.
When approaching a dementia case, Dr. Rao always considers the cause and severity first. She uses this as a baseline to develop a customized treatment plan to address the cognitive, behavioral, and psychological effects of dementia. Just a few of the treatment strategies Dr. Rao uses in dementia cases include:
The most important treatment a primary care physician provides is routine monitoring of the dementia patient’s health status, which can change rapidly as the disease progresses. A minimum of quarterly contact should be made with the patient and a family member/caregiver familiar with their situation. More frequent appointments may be necessary for some patients. Routine monitoring allows the physician to perform all the other functions of dementia disease management mentioned here while providing a much-needed pillar of support to the patient’s circle.
Collaboration & Referrals
Dementia affects so many different parts of the patient’s body and spirit that frequent collaboration with other medical and psychiatric professionals is required for optimal care. Just a few of the professionals your physician will interact with while managing a dementia diagnosis include nurses, PAs, neurologists, social workers, psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, and even attorneys.
Disease management also involves making referrals to these types of professionals if the patient is not already receiving that type of care. As the dementia disease progresses, there will be a need for more treatments and interventions to keep the patient at an optimal level of functioning and quality of life.
Another important part of the routine monitoring of disease management for dementia is assessing the efficacy and need for the continuation of any pharmacologic interventions. There are currently five FDA-approved medications to slow the progression of dementia symptoms, most commonly used for Alzheimer’s disease. There are also many clinical trials testing new medications for which the patient may be referred.
Another element of dementia disease management is caregiver support. We provide education, referrals to support groups, and even pharmacologic interventions for the stress and anxiety that accompany caring for someone with dementia.
Dementia Disease Management in Tampa Bay
For the most comprehensive dementia disease management services in Tampa Bay, trust Dr. Rao and her team to help you or your loved one every step of the way. We are conveniently located in St. Petersburg and Largo to serve you close to home. Call us at 727-525-0900 or online to schedule your appointment today.