Use of Telephone- and Internet-Based Support to Elicit and Address Financial Abuse and Mismanagement in Dementia: Experiences from the Care Ecosystem Study

Journal of Alzheimer's disease : JAD

J Alzheimers Dis. 2022;86(1):219-229. doi: 10.3233/JAD-215284.


BACKGROUND: Financial mismanagement and abuse in dementia have serious consequences for patients and their families. Vulnerability to these outcomes reflects both patient and contextual factors.

OBJECTIVE: Our study aimed to assess how multidisciplinary care coordination programs assist families in addressing psychosocial vulnerabilities and accessing needed resources.

METHODS: Our study was embedded in a clinical trial of the Care Ecosystem, a telephone- and internet-based supportive care intervention for patients with dementia and caregivers. This program is built around the role of the Care Team Navigator (CTN), an unlicensed dementia care guide who serves as the patient and caregiver's primary point of contact, screening for common problems and providing support. We conducted a qualitative analysis of case summaries from a subset of 19 patient/caregiver dyads identified as having increased risk for financial mismanagement and abuse, to examine how Care Ecosystem staff identified vulnerabilities and provided support to patients and families.

RESULTS: CTNs elicited patient and caregiver needs using templated conversations to address common financial and legal planning issues in dementia. Sources of financial vulnerability included changes in patients' behavior, caregiver burden, intrafamily tension, and confusion about resources to facilitate end-of-life planning. The Care Ecosystem staff's rapport with their dyads helped them address these issues by providing emotional support, information on how to access financial, medical, and legal resources, and improving intra-familial communication.

CONCLUSION: The Care Ecosystem offers a scalable way to address vulnerabilities to financial mismanagement and abuse in patients and caregivers through coordinated care by unlicensed care guides supported by a multidisciplinary team.

PMID:35034900 | DOI:10.3233/JAD-215284


Madhumitha Manivannan
Julia Heunis
Sarah M Hooper
Alissa Bernstein Sideman
Kristi P Lui
Tamara L Braley
Katherine L Possin
Winston Chiong