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December 8, 2019

11/19/2019 7:30:00 AM
Rhinelander memory care clinic recognized at Wisconsin Alzheimer's Institute's annual event

A Rhinelander memory care clinic was recognized as a featured clinic at the Wisconsin Alzheimer's Institute (WAI) annual event, held Oct. 31 - Nov. 2 at the Madison Concourse Hotel.

The Northern Wisconsin Memory Diagnostic Clinic was recognized as a pioneer in the field of serving patients in rural areas of Wisconsin, according to a press release announcing the honor. The clinic opened in 1998, the release states. That same year, it was the first rural clinic in Wisconsin to enter the WAI network of memory clinics.

Dr. Cynthia Carlsson, Director of WAI, congratulated clinic staff on their dedication to providing care for people living with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias.

"We're so grateful to the Rhinelander clinic, which was the first rural clinic in the state and has served as a pioneer in these communities," she said. "This network is a big collaboration across the state to help us as a community to be able to provide best dementia care possible; and this clinic has been an integral part of building that community."

The Northern Wisconsin Memory Diagnostic clinic, which is affiliated with Ascension Medical Group, serves patients from Oneida, Vilas, Forest, Lincoln, and Langlade counties. Like many counties in northern Wisconsin, these counties have a relatively older population. In Oneida County, more than 25% of the population is aged 65 or older, according to numbers from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. People served by a rural clinic may travel a longer distance to receive services and live in more isolated areas: two factors that can play a role in a diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer's and dementia.

"As a lot of us know, the population in these counties is lower, but the proportion of older adults needing these services is high," Dr. Carlsson said. "We're really grateful to have these clinics in areas where patients can get the services in their own backyard."

More than 110,000 people are living with Alzheimer's disease in Wisconsin, a number projected to surpass 130,000 in 2025. The healthcare providers serving these individuals are supported, trained, and served by WAI, often by joining as members of the WAI Dementia Diagnostic Clinic Network.

"We're hoping to grow to have a clinic in every county," Dr. Carlsson said. "We're so thankful for each of clinics and the crucial role they serve in helping more people."

The WAI network began in 1998 and now has 38 members across the state. Each year, WAI convenes the network, bringing together statewide partners to discuss best practices.

At this year's event, experts presented on topics including blood pressure control as a prevention tool, diversity in cognitive aging, frontotemporal dementia, and more.

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