Crusader establishes memory disorder center

Crusader establishes memory disorder center

By Shellie Berg

By Shellie Berg

Staff Reporter

In order to accommodate the need for treating memory disorders, Crusader Clinic will initiate a new Memory Diagnostic Center at the clinic on Broadway & Seventh Street.

Crusader is partnering with the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine Center for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders for the endeavor.

Crusader will provide consultation, diagnosis and management. A board-certified physician, licensed, mid-level practitioners and specially-trained nursing staff from Crusader will assist patients.

Patients may be referred by agencies or their regular doctors who lack time to evaluate whether they are stricken with a memory disorder. They may also be individuals who don’t have a doctor but presume that they have a disorder. Alzheimer’s is the most common of memory disorders.

People might have Alzheimer’s if their memory is interfering with daily activities. Don Crain, clinical site coordinator, said that for instance, people may be forgetting simple words.

The center is geared toward the elderly and is designed to help those in the early stages of memory disorders. Crain emphasized that with Alzheimer’s, the best treatment options occur early. “Medicines out now work better in the early stages,” Crain said.

When people call, Crain will conduct an in-depth interview to identify whether a person has a disorder. They can then set up an appointment. They will have both a one-month and six-month follow-up.

The diagnosis will lead to creating the best treatment plan and, in turn, help the patient and family form a management plan.

The whole evaluation will encompass examining in-depth medical history, functional assessment, cognitive evaluation, comprehensive neurological evaluation, lab work and brain scan.

The plan might also entail consultation with the patient’s family doctor, in which treatment options and therapeutic care recommendations would be considered.

The center will be open Tuesday and Wednesday from noon to 5 p.m. by appointment only. Crusader will accept 18 patients a month, who will have monthly follow-ups.

The clinic is planning to expand with demand, which is currently high. The center is booked until May. People are urged to call now for an appointment.

Startling numbers of increasing Alzheimer’s cases have led to the clinic initiating the center. The Northern Illinois Branch of Alzheimer’s Association states that 60,000 people in northern Illinois suffer with the disease. About four million Americans have Alzheimer’s; 14 million are projected to have it by the middle of the century.

“There’s definitely a huge need,” said Jamie Cashman, health education program manager, who is involved in administrative duties for the center. “In our area, 12,000 die of Alzheimer’s alone. There’s going to be a lot more out there because of baby boomers.”

Crain stressed that Crusader doesn’t seek to change people’s insurance. In addition, those on limited incomes might save money. “We don’t charge a co-pay or deductible,” Crain said.

Also, Crusader can provide assistance for prescription drugs. Crusader will serve people on all income levels, and the clinic is open to anyone in the region. Call 490-1432 for more information.

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