Washington’s Dementia Action Collaborative committed to hope and empowerment
Earlier this year, Gov. Inslee declared June as Alzheimer and Brain Disease Awareness Month.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. It is a progressive, degenerative brain disorder that causes memory loss and affects self-care, decision making and behavior. There are currently 110,000 Washingtonians living with Alzheimer’s disease, projected to rise to 140,000 by 2025. Dementia is the third leading cause of death in Washington.
For HCA employee Jamie Teuteberg, focusing on dementia is a year-round effort.
Jamie is the life stage coordinator in the Clinical Quality Care Transformation (CQCT) division at the Health Care Authority (HCA), which partners with the Dementia Action Collaborative (DAC) as part of their interagency effort. Through DAC, the HCA partners with the Department of Social Health Services (DSHS) Aging and Long-Term Support Administration (ALTSA) and the Department of Health (DOH) for this work.
“I love that the dementia part of my job allows me to have [a] work team which encompasses two other state agencies,” Jamie shared. “our team is composed of four people total and we all bring different perspectives, which propels the work forward even faster than if [we] were going alone.”
The cross-agency team also includes Lynne Korte and Kim Boon from DSHS/ALTSA, and Marci Getz from Department of Health (DOH). Jamie has served on the team since August 2018. In 2016, DAC formed as a group of partners, both public and private who are committed to preparing Washington State for the growth of the dementia population.
Above: The Dementia Action Collaborative (DAC) team: Marci Getz (DOH), Jamie Teuteberg (HCA), Kim Boon (DSHS/ALTSA), and Lynne Korte (DSHS/ALTSA).
According to the DAC Charter, their mission is to “guide and support the implementation of the Washington State Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias” and to “envision a future that fosters hope and empowerment for Washingtonians with Alzheimer’s disease.”
50 percent of Jamie’s job is dedicated to dementia work alone, and for her, this work is especially meaningful in a personal way.
“I have had family members with Alzheimer’s and Dementia, which makes this work even closer to my heart.”
Jamie has worked with many different age groups over her career, but first worked with dementia clients at age 12 while volunteering at a nursing home in a memory care wing. “I attribute my early volunteer service to shaping many of my career choices,” she shared.
Jamie also enjoys the work she does impacts a variety of people in a variety of ways.
“People of all ages and abilities are everywhere we go and it is important that we afford them with the best care and considerations possible.”
For Jamie, there are several different aspects of her work that she wants people to know about dementia and how to support those living with it.
The first: early detection and diagnosis are key. Even though there isn’t a cure, there are interventions to help slow the progression of dementia.
The second: if you are a caretaker, or helping someone who has dementia, don’t be afraid to ask for help, seek services, or a support group.
Jamie’s personal favorite resource is the Dementia Road Map, a step by step guide that walks you through the stages of Dementia and provides various resources.
Representing the HCA in the workgroup has been an incredibly positive experience for Jamie.
“Everyone on this collaborative is very passionate; it is like no other workgroup!”