There is no doubt that Community Memorial Hospital’s (CMH) Centers for Family Health have made healthcare more accessible to residents throughout Ventura County. The Santa Rosa Health Center is no exception and has taken that accessibility to a new level with a pilot program that offers individuals living with dementia services that extend well beyond medical needs. Patients are now able to access a community-based dementia specialist during their visit to the Santa Rosa Center, all to help ease the stress and anxiety associated with a Dementia diagnosis.
Stemming from a grant to the Ventura County Area Agency on Aging (VCAAA) from the Administration for Community Living (ACL), the 3-month pilot program began in June 2019 with one primary goal: to test the value of embedding community-based dementia specialists in a medical setting, to meet with patients and families and assist with any unmet needs related to their diagnosis. providing an integrated whole person approach for patients and family members who are trying to navigate the road from diagnosis to available treatments and programs.
CMH noted that their work with the Dementia Friendly Ventura County collaborative, which is led by theVCAAA, included feedback from the community that healthcare providers don’t always prepare families for the progression of Dementia, according to Bonnie Subira, CMH’s Manager for High Risk Case Management. “Giving access to community-based dementia specialists helps patients and family members begin processing what they’re dealing with and what nonclinical resources might be available.”
Joining CMH in their efforts is the Camarillo Health Care District (CHCD), which provides a Dementia specialist in the clinic setting that help address the larger Dementia needs.
The pilot program is the first of its kind, according to Subira. “It’s a groundbreaking concept,” she said. “This program creates the potential for a community partner to be part of the healthcare team. That has never been done on this level.”
She continued, “It’s a lot to wrap your mind around, the idea of a diagnosis of Dementia. This program provides an added level of comfort for the patients and their family.”
The Santa Rosa Health Center’s pilot program is just the start to a multi-agency collaborative effort to provide one-stop Dementia resource centers in cities throughout Ventura County.
For more information on the Santa Rosa Health Center, visit https://cfh.cmhshealth.org/locations/santarosa-health-center/. For more information on the Dementia Friendly Ventura County movement, visit