The process to develop the Rhode Island State Plan for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders began in the spring of 2012 as a collaboration between the Rhode Island chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, the Division of Elderly Affairs and the Lieutenant Governor’s office. The work officially began upon passage by the Rhode Island General Assembly of a Joint Resolution directing the Long Term Care Coordinating Council to serve as the organizational structure for a Work Group to lead the state plan process (Joint Resolution S 2858 can be found in Appendix A). The Work Group was co-chaired by Lt. Governor Elizabeth Roberts and the Director of the Division of Elderly Affairs, Catherine Taylor.
The Work Group met for the first time on July 26, 2012 and then on an ongoing basis approximately every two months over the course of the following year. It served as a forum for community members to learn about some of Rhode Island’s leading Alzheimer’s and aging resources, including the state’s Geriatric Education Center at the University of Rhode Island, the Brown University Center for Gerontology and Health Care Research, The Brown Brain Bank, the Norman Prince Neurosciences Institute and the Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry. The Work Group meetings also provided an opportunity for each of the six Subgroups that were formed to tackle the bulk of the State Plan work to report out to the full group. This provided continuity across each of the Subgroups and facilitated a better awareness among the full group participants of the diverse resources, needs, challenges and solutions being discussed at each of the Subgroup meetings.
The Subgroups were designated based upon a survey of other states’ Alzheimer’s plans and with extensive input from the Work Group participants. During the first month, the Work Group participants were asked to provide feedback on the proposed subgroups and the suggested jurisdictional areas for each of them to address. Upon approval of their structure, the Subgroups began their work in early October 2012. The Caregiver, Access, Legal, Workforce, Long-Term Care and the Care Delivery & Research Subgroups met every 3-4 weeks throughout the course of the year.
This State Plan report is organized into six major sections focusing on the work of each subgroup. The narrative contained in each section reflects the many presentations, discussions, concerns and challenges addressed at each meeting of Subgroups over the course of the last several months. The bulleted recommendations at the end of each subsection outline the solutions and specific steps for improvement that were identified by the Subgroup participants and finalized into recommendations over the course of a month-long editing process. This Plan was presented in draft form at a public meeting on June 6, 2013 for comment and review, and was posted for a 10-day public comment period on this web site that ended on June 19th, and shared widely across various state-based stakeholder and advocacy networks.
It is the intent of the co-chairs that this initial iteration of the State Plan for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders will be the first of many to come, and this stage of the process should be viewed not as the conclusion, but rather as the beginning of a critical scope of work.