176245 A poll of rural Illinois county health departments regarding the evaluation of Alzheimer disease and the availability of related educational information

Wednesday, October 29, 2008: 8:30 AM

Tom Ala, MD , Center for Alzheimer Disease & Related Disorders, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Springfield, IL
Greg Kyrouac, MSEd , Center for Alzheimer Disease & Related Disorders, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Springfield, IL
We called rural county health departments (CHDs) in Illinois to gauge their awareness for Alzheimer disease (AD) resources in their geographical region. There are 102 counties in Illinois, 9 of which are considered metropolitan. Three counties do not have a CHD and 77 CHDs cover the remaining 90 rural counties. We called these 77 rural CHDs and asked the following questions: 1) Where can patients be evaluated for suspected AD in this area? 2) Where can one obtain AD educational information in this area? and, 3) How may one initiate an evaluation of a patient with suspected AD who refuses to seek medical attention. We asked whoever answered the telephone the questions as if we were a concerned resident in the local area. We categorized the responses as “Good,” “Fair,” “Poor,” and “Wrong.” The findings indicate that the rural Illinois CHDs generally have a fairly high degree of awareness for AD and the availability of resources to help AD patients and their families. It was encouraging that most of the respondents who could not directly recommend a resource were very willing to help by referring to other related resources. However, only fourteen CHDs (18%) recommended the Alzheimer's Association as a resource for one or more of the questions. These findings, therefore, identify potential areas for improvement since relatively few of the rural CHDs recommended a major Alzheimer organization as a resource and some respondents made little effort to answer our questions.

Learning Objectives:
1. Appraise the awareness of the rural Illinois county health departments for places where a patient with suspected Alzheimer disease may be evaluated. 2. Appraise their awareness for the availability of educational information for Alzheimer disease. 3. Appraise their awareness for how a patient with suspected Alzheimer disease who is living alone and refusing help may have an evaluation initiated against his/her will.

Keywords: Dementia, Access and Services

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was involved in the development of the project, the analysis of the results, and the writing of the presentation.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.