The Alzheimer's Disease Supportive Services Program (ADSSP)
The Alzheimer's Disease Supportive Services Program (ADSSP) is a federally-funded program, authorized through the Public Health Services Act and administered by the U.S. Administration on Aging. The mission of the ADSSP is to expand the availability of diagnostic and support services for persons with Alzheimer's disease and related disorders (ADRD) and their families, as well as to improve the responsiveness of the home and community-based care systems to persons with dementias. The program has established the ADSSP National Resource Center that offers technical assistance to the ADSSP state grantees. This month on Key Feature, Elizabeth Gould, MSW, LCSW, Co-Director, ADSSP National Resource Center, Alzheimer's Association, Chicago IL and Shannon Skowronski, MPH, MSW, Aging Services Program Specialist, U.S. Administration on Aging, answer questions about ADSSP and the role for the Resource Center.
Q: How does ADSSP accomplish its mission?
A: The U.S. Administration on Aging (AoA) provides grants to states to enhance supports and services for persons with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias (ADRD). To achieve this, AoA awards two types of grants: evidence-based and innovation. Through evidence-based grants, states translate evidence-based interventions that have been proven effective, through randomized controlled trials, in helping persons with ADRD and/or their caregivers into community programs that can be offered and disseminated throughout the country. Through innovation grants, states explore promising approaches for improving long-term care services and supports for persons with ADRD, with a particular emphasis on areas in which there may be less research, but great need.
Q: An important concept of the program is the "translation" of evidence-based interventions. Why is translation important?
A: Translation involves implementing research interventions in communities with fidelity to the major program design elements that were included in the original study. The impetus behind translation is the recognition that research findings should benefit the intended audience as quickly as possible by putting helpful interventions into practice. During the translation process, tools and manuals are developed to assist in the dissemination of the evidence based program.
Q: What factors are considered in translation?
A: The competency level of the staff and any processes that facilitate the replication of the program with fidelity are critical in translation. Translations pose some challenges. AoA requires that all ADSSP projects use the RE-AIM Framework consistently in order to help researchers and practitioners understand the issues related to planning, implementation, evaluation and sustainability of evidence-based ADRD interventions. The RE-AIM framework consists of five components: Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation and Maintenance.
Q: What types of innovations are being developed through the ADSSP?
A: ADSSP innovations use evidence-informed and promising practices to enhance supports and services for persons with ADRD and their family caregivers. In particular, the program develops approaches that reach and serve persons in the earliest stages of the disease. Early stage services help persons with ADRD and their families plan for the stages of the disease and provide access to supports that enable them to continue to remain engaged in life for as long as possible.
Q: What are some of the accomplishments so far by the ADSSP?
A: To date, the ADSSP program has proven successful in developing national models of dementia care practice; enhancing the ability of state aging and long-term services and supports systems to serve for persons with ADRD and their family caregivers; and reaching diverse and traditionally underserved populations with culturally and linguistically-appropriate services and supports. At present, 27 states are delivering one or more ADSSP programs, including the translation of 8 evidence-based models. Between September 30, 2008 and September 30, 2009, the ADSSP provided supports and services to nearly 3,200 persons with ADRD and their family caregivers.
Q: What is the role of the ADSSP National Resource Center?
A: The ADSSP National Resource Center supports ADSSP grantees and their community partners' efforts to maintain integrated and sustainable service delivery systems for individuals with ADRD and their family caregivers. In addition, the ADSSP Resource Center maintains a web-portal with a variety of publically-available resources on the Technical Assistance Exchange website.
Q: Who benefits from the resources that the National Resource Center offers?
A: These resources can be used by any provider or organization serving older adults and persons with dementia. The resources include information about home and community-based interventions for people with dementia and their caregivers, physician outreach materials, publications about evidence-based caregiver interventions, and a comprehensive compendium of innovative practices. Visitors to the site are able to access information about ADSSP programs in their state, national and state-level data on persons served, web links to resources, and information on available funding opportunities.
Q: Who are the grantees and how are they being supported by the National Resource Center?
A: Current grantees include state agencies on aging and state universities. States work in collaboration with AAAs and other local community partners to deliver the supports and services. Once a state is awarded a grant, they are able to utilize the services of the National Resource Center. The Center is for the currently funded projects to help them provide dementia capable services. The website is available to anyone and grantees/partners have additional information available to them through the website.
The profiles of the current state grantees are available here.
Q: In a short statement, what is the "bottom line" message this program offers to professionals? How can professionals use this message in their practice?
A: As many as 5.3 million Americans are living with ADRD. Care for persons with cognitive impairment is a significant concern due to the increasing number of older adults and the increased prevalence of dementia in people of advanced age. With the demand for services, state and local long-term services and supports need to be dementia-capable. To be dementia-capable, providers who help individuals with dementia and their families access home and community-based services must be skilled at identifying people with dementia, knowledgeable about the kinds of services that help people with dementia and their caregivers, and capable of providing linkages to other organizations.