Current TN Initiatives

2022 Healthcare Provider Conference

provider training

Location: Tennessee State Library and Archives

Date: July 22, 2022 Time: 8:30 a.m.-3:45 p.m.

Cost: Free for attendees

Parking: Parking is free to attendees. Parking instructions will be provided via email prior to the event .

Additional Details: Lunch and CMEs will be provided at no cost to meeting attendees. Registration will be limited to 200 participants for the in-person conference. There will be no limit for the number of providers that can attend the online training.

NOTE: Priority registration will be given to physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants for the in-person event due to limited space.

Dementia Friendly Communities The 2019 Edition of the State Health Plan features a “deep-dive” into cognitive and brain health across the lifespan in the State. The Office of Patient Care Advocacy in partnership with the Office of Health Planning and Minority Health and Disparities elimination, held ten listening sessions to help inform three recommendations that the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) would be responsible for implementing in order to better support the public in their understanding of risk factors associated with cognitive decline, while supporting those living with cognitive decline and their caregivers.

One of the recommendations that resulted from the focus groups was the support and implementation of dementia friendly communities. A dementia friendly community framework focuses on reducing the stigma associated with cognitive decline and including those with an Alzheimer’s or other related dementias (ADOD) diagnosis in the community as much as possible through activities of daily living. The term community can mean a location like a neighborhood or city, but may also include groups of people with shared interests and features, such as professional groups, faith-based organizations or business. A dementia friendly community focuses on educating the public, businesses and government entities, healthcare providers, first responders, and other key members of the community on effective strategies for working with individuals with dementia and their caregivers. 

Modeling best practices from other states and communities, TDH has developed a TN Dementia Friendly Community toolkit to help guide communities on their journey. Each community is different, so the starting point might look different. Communities are encouraged to utilize sections of the toolkit that work best for the needs of the population they are serving. As the program grows, the toolkit will continuously be updated and include new information and resources, so be sure to continue to check the website for updates. Click here to access the TN Dementia Friendly Toolkit.

Although age is the greatest risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s and other related dementias, there are a variety of modifiable risk factors including hypertension, smoking, traumatic brain injuries, and obesity. These modifiable risk factors are associated with many chronic conditions including heart disease, but many people have not associated these risk factors with cognitive decline. There are multiple resources available for public use including fact sheets, videos, and infographics. These can be utilized to educate the public about the risk factors associated with dementia through social media, websites, and during presentations. It is important to implement healthy lifestyle behaviors early in life and to continue living a healthy lifestyle throughout the life time to help reduce your risk of experiencing cognitive decline.

In May 2019, the 111th Tennessee General Assembly passed a bill creating the state Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia advisory council. The purpose of the council is to

1. Continually assess the current status of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia in this state and to assess the current and future impact of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia on Tennessee residents;

2. Examine the existing industries, services, and resources addressing the needs of persons, families, and caregivers affected by Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia;

3. Develop a strategy to mobilize a state response to matters regarding Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia; and

4. Provide recommendations to the governor and to the general assembly on issues related to its work.

Since this bill was enacted, the council has produced the 2020 Alzheimer’s and Related Dementia Tennessee State Plan. The council continues to meet and make updates to the plan each year.

Alzheimer's and related dementia TN State Plan

The Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability (TCAD) received a grant from the Administration of Community Living to implement Dementia-Capable Tennessee. The project activities include:

1. Development of an Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias/brain health website, and training for HCBS program councilors and AAAD staff;

2. Implementation of “Powerful tools for Caregivers”; and

3. Implementation of the Person-Centered Music Program for individuals in home and community based settings.

To learn more about the project, visit the TCAD website by clicking here.