A New Model for Brain Health
By Teri Theuriet & Kimberly Carlisle
Made possible by an anonymous philanthropic gift of $21 million, California Pacific Medical Center has opened its new Brain Health Center. This extraordinary philanthropic investment has created an endowment that ensures the Center’s long-term ability to offer patients and their families a unique collaboration to care for patients with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or other memory disorders.
“Caring for the patient is critical, but it’s equally important to give families the support they need to care for their loved ones,” says CPMC neurologist Catherine Madison, M.D, the Center’s medical director and a physician with Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation. Currently, most treatment models focus on the patient. But because medications offer only limited benefits to patients, the Brain Health Center helps families find the support they need to care for their loved ones. In addition, it also focuses on research to find new, more effective interventions.
“People need to know that there are resources available to help families who are concerned about their loved one’s memory loss,” adds Dr. Madison, who was a caregiver for her mother, an Alzheimer’s patient. “Whether the diagnosis is Alzheimer’s or some other type of dementia, we are here to help them through the journey over the years that follow.”
Advancing the Science of Care
Another key focus of the Brain Health Center is care for the “worried well,” people age 45 to 60 and older, who are concerned that they may be developing memory problems or are at risk because of family history.
“We often see worried people who have had a parent with Alzheimer’s and they want to know if they might be developing early stages of dementia,” explains Dr. Madison. “But they may have something else that can be treated, such as a sleep disorder, mood disturbance or metabolic imbalance. ” With support of the endowment, staff at the Center can offer education on diet and activities, as well as coaching, therapy and long-term planning.
The Center also aims to decrease the stigma associated with memory issues, which can cause barriers to diagnosis and treatment. In fact, individuals and families often avoid seeking a diagnosis, believing there is no treatment. “Although we may not be able to cure dementia, changes in activities, adjustment in medications and assistance in finding resources can improve the quality of life for both patient and family,” says Dr. Madison.
Another unique aspect of the Brain Health Center is that it is the first program of its kind in the U.S. to be developed in collaboration with the Alzheimer’s Association. “A key objective of the Center is to make it easier for patients and their families to navigate a complex medical system,” says Elizabeth Edgerly, Ph.D., chief program officer of the Alzheimer’s Association of Northern California. “At the Brain Health Center, we are working with CPMC to create an innovative Care Navigation Team to help people find the resources they need, set up appointments and access local community services.” CPMC will work closely with the Alzheimer’s Association to turn this approach into a national model that other hospitals and communities can replicate.
“None of this would have been possible without the extraordinary donation of $21 million,” says Mark Kimbell, president of CPMC Foundation, the philanthropic arm of CPMC. “It is impossible to express how grateful we are for this beyond-generous gift. This endowment will make it possible for us to help patients, and their families, in ways that we would never have been able to do. It will help touch the lives, and we hope ultimately change the lives, of all those suffering from dementia or other brain-health problems.”
A Philanthropic Partnership
You can help fulfill the unique and ambitious mission of CPMC’s new Brain Health Center by sending a contribution in support of its innovative work. A portion of the anonymous gift must be matched with additional funds, and your gift, regardless of size, will help make a remarkable difference in the lives of those we serve now and in the future.
To learn more:
Brain Health Center
CPMC Davies Campus
45 Castro Street, Suite 220 (at Castro and Duboce)
San Francisco, CA 94114
To make a gift in support
of the Center:
2015 Steiner Street
San Francisco, CA 94115