Advocate Health champions health equity through new, innovative dementia care model

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Advocate Health has been selected by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to participate in the Guiding an Improved Dementia Experience (GUIDE) Model, aimed to support advanced dementia patients and their caregivers in bridging the gaps associated with inequalities in dementia care. Following years of neurocognitive disorders research pioneered by Advocate Health’s academic core, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, patients across the health system’s footprint now will benefit from the GUIDE Model’s new standardized approach to care for patients with dementia and their caregivers. Only 400 health organizations in the country have been accepted into the Dementia Care Program (DCP).

“Dementia casts a wide shadow, touching the lives of millions of patients and their caregivers who often face emotional, financial, and psychological challenges,” said Don Calcagno, senior vice president and chief population officer for Advocate Health. “By adopting the GUIDE Model, we are alleviating some of those strains and committing to a future where every person and community affected by dementia receives the adequate support, resources, and understanding they need.” 

Advocate Health and Wake Forest University School of Medicine’s integrated approach to patient care underscores the importance of advancing research into innovative health care models that improve health inequities. D-Care, a multi-year clinical trial led by Dr. Mia Yang, associate professor of gerontology and geriatric medicine at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, compared evidence-based health system-based dementia care with community-based dementia care. Years of evidence-based dementia care research and advocacy were instrumental for the creation of the GUIDE Model and will be incorporated throughout the Advocate Health system.

“Advocate Health’s integration of the GUIDE Model reaffirms the profound impact of our team’s work,” said Dr. Kevin High, professor of medicine/infectious diseases, Wake Forest University School of Medicine and vice chief academic officer, academic learning health system for Advocate Health. “We know that inequalities exist in the health care system. As we demonstrated, continuing to invest in evidence-based research and teaming up with our partners throughout the enterprise, will allow us to shape the future of healthcare to be more inclusive and equitable.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 7 million Americans live with Alzheimer’s disease, with 14 million projected cases by 2060. Studies indicate that Black and Hispanic populations not only have a higher prevalence of dementia but also face significant barriers to timely diagnosis and adequate support.

Caregivers are critical in achieving patient-centered care. However, the work of these unsung heroes can go unnoticed. A lack of support navigating the complex world of dementia care can be overwhelming and lead to fatigue, anxiety, and depression. The GUIDE Model aims to bridge these gaps by providing caregivers with access to a suite of comprehensive resources and support. Components of the model include:

  • Caregiver education and support for unpaid caregivers whose loved ones have dementia.
  • A subgroup of caregivers will receive a $2,500 cap for respite services to reduce caregiver fatigue and financial burdens.
  • 24/7 access to an on-call support line, care coordination and dementia medical management, and referrals to community programs in partnership with community-based senior organizations. 
  • Reducing Medicare and Medicaid spending by helping people with dementia to remain at home and decreasing their chances of hospitalization, emergency department use, and long-term nursing home care – the biggest source of out-of-pocket expenses for patients living with dementia.

The GUIDE Model will be available at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist in North Carolina on July 1 and expand throughout the rest of North Carolina, Illinois and Wisconsin in 2025. Patients and caregivers impacted by dementia will access an innovative framework that uses holistic care to enable patients to remain home longer, delay unnecessary admissions, support caregivers and provide equitable care for all.


About Advocate Health  

Advocate Health is the third-largest nonprofit, integrated health system in the United States, created from the combination of Advocate Aurora Health and Atrium Health. Providing care under the names Advocate Health Care in Illinois; Atrium Health in the Carolinas, Georgia and Alabama; and Aurora Health Care in Wisconsin, Advocate Health is a national leader in clinical innovation, health outcomes, consumer experience and value-based care, with Wake Forest University School of Medicine serving as the academic core of the enterprise. Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, Advocate Health serves nearly 6 million patients and is engaged in hundreds of clinical trials and research studies. It is nationally recognized for its expertise in cardiology, neurosciences, oncology, pediatrics and rehabilitation, as well as organ transplants, burn treatments and specialized musculoskeletal programs. Advocate Health employs nearly 155,000 team members across 68 hospitals and over 1,000 care locations, and offers one of the nation’s largest graduate medical education programs with over 2,000 residents and fellows across more than 200 programs. Committed to providing equitable care for all, Advocate Health provides nearly $6 billion in annual community benefits.    


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