Implementation of the REACH model of dementia caregiver support in American Indian and Alaska Native communities
The Resources for Enhancing Alzheimer’s Caregivers Health in the VA (REACH VA) dementia caregiving intervention has been implemented in the VA, in community agencies, and internationally. As identified in the 2013 and 2015 National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease, REACH is being made available to American Indian and Alaska Native communities. Implementation activities are carried out by local Public Health Nursing programs operated by Indian Health Service and Tribal Health programs, and Administration for Community Living/Administration on Aging funded Tribal Aging program staff already working in each community. The implementation is described using the Fixsen and Blase implementation process model. Cultural, community, health system, and tribe-specific adaptations occur during the six implementation stages of exploration and adoption, program installation, initial implementation, full operation, innovation, and sustainability. Adaptations are made by local staff delivering the program. Implementation challenges in serving AI/AN dementia caregivers include the need to adapt the program to fit the unique communities and the cultural perceptions of dementia and caregiving. Lessons learned highlight the importance of using a clinically successful intervention, the need for support and buy-in from leadership and staff, the fit of the intervention into ongoing routines and practices, the critical role of modifications based on caregiver, staff, and organization needs and feedback, the need for a simple and easily learned intervention, and the critical importance of community receptivity to the services offered.
Martindale-Adams J, Tah T, Finke B, LaCounte C, Higgins BJ, Nichols LO. Implementation of the REACH model of dementia caregiver support in American Indian and Alaska Native communities. Translational behavioral medicine. 2017.