Telehealth for Patients with Alzheimer Disease: Jessica Zwerling, MD, MS

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The director of the Montefiore Hudson Valley Center of Excellence for Alzheimer’s Disease discusses the use of telehealth for patients with Alzheimer disease during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as her thoughts on why it is here to stay.

“We really did flip the switch to telemedicine, and we engaged both the patient and the caregiver, and it was a wonderful opportunity.”

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth became standard practice for many healthcare providers, but it provided specific benefit for those with Alzheimer disease (AD), according to Jessica Zwerling, MD, MS, director, Montefiore Hudson Valley Center of Excellence for Alzheimer’s Disease, and associate professor of neurology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine. In discussion with NeurologyLive, Zwerling spoke to the impact of telehealth on the AD community, particularly on the relationship between caregivers and providers, as well on care visits, which were able to incorporate social workers and additional family members easily due to the virtual aspect.

Zwerling spoke on development of the C-Care model, which outlines continuity of care for at-risk home elderly. Following a call with the provider and a social worker to address mobility, weight loss, sleep, behavioral disturbances, and other issues faced by that specific population, patients and caregivers were then connected with appropriate community-based organization. Acceptance rate also showed benefits from technology; according to Zwerling, a clinical trial program that was fully conducted during the pandemic showed a 100% acceptance rate in conversion to a virtual format, further highlighting the advantages telehealth presents for the AD patient community.

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