Adaptation and Piloting for Hospice Social Workers of Aliviado Dementia Care, a Dementia Symptom Management Program

Tessa M. Jones, Abraham A. Brody

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Forty-five percent of hospice patients currently have a primary or secondary diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or related disorders. However, few programs have focused specifically on assisting hospices in providing evidence-based symptom management to persons living with dementia (PLWD). Objective: To adapt and pilot the training component of Aliviado Dementia Care, a dementia symptom management quality improvement program originally developed for home healthcare, for use by social workers as part of the hospice interdisciplinary team. Design: A prospective pre-post design was utilized, measuring knowledge, confidence, and attitudes at baseline, and immediately and 1-month post-training. Analysis was performed using paired t-tests and repeated measures ANOVA. Subjects: Hospice social workers currently practicing in the United States with at least 1 year of experience. Measurements: The Dementia Symptom Knowledge Assessment and a post-training continuing education evaluation form. Results: Forty-six subjects were enrolled, of whom 26 completed the first post-test and 23 both post-tests. There was a poor baseline level of knowledge and confidence in caring for PLWD. Significant improvements occurred following training, particularly in implementing non-pharmacologic interventions for behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) (16.64% increase, p <.0001) and confidence in managing behavioral symptoms (16.86%, p =.01) and depression (25.18%, p <.0001). Changes were maintained over time. All respondents were either very satisfied or satisfied with the quality and content of the program. Conclusions: The training modules of Aliviado Dementia Care were successfully tailored for use by hospice social workers, showing significant improvement in knowledge and confidence in caring for behavioral symptoms in PLWD. Future work will examine whether the larger program, including this training, can subsequently improve patient outcomes in hospice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)452-458
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2021


  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • dementia
  • hospice
  • quality improvement
  • social work
  • Prospective Studies
  • Social Workers
  • Hospice Care
  • United States
  • Humans
  • Dementia/therapy
  • Hospices

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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