Rick Kilgore to test Alzheimer’s screening toolkit in Pelham clinic

Published 1:17 pm Monday, June 19, 2023

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By LIZZIE BOWEN| Staff Writer

PELHAM – A new groundbreaking pilot project is underway in Pelham that hopes to address the rise in Alzheimer’s Disease.

Physician Assistant Rick Kilgore is testing a new cognitive decline assessment toolkit at his clinic. The overall goal is to identify patients who are at higher risk of cognitive decline earlier in order to slow the progression of the disease. This allows families more time to plan for the future of the patient.

Kilgore’s clinic is one of just five in the country selected to test this new toolkit. The project is funded by the Davos Alzheimer’s Collaborative and being led by the American Academy of Physician Associates (AAPA) and the Cleveland Clinic.

“Patients who live in rural communities often have to travel farther for medical care and may lack healthcare resources that patients in urban areas have access to,” American Academy of Associates CEO Lisa Gables said. “By bringing a new screening tool directly to rural communities, PAs and other healthcare providers will be able to reach patients who may otherwise not have access to proper Alzheimer’s screenings.”

In Alabama, there are an estimated 96,000 people ages 65 or older living with Alzheimer’s. The Alabama Department of Public Health reports that Alzheimer’s Disease is one of the top 10 leading causes of death in the state.

“Rural sites participating in this pilot project will provide invaluable feedback about this toolkit—what works well and what needs to be improved,” Gables said. “The end goal is to take this information and create an effective screening toolkit that will be used by providers around the world.”

In 2022, the Davos Alzheimer’s Collaborative (DAC) announced $4.5 million in grants to 12 recipients whose work would focus on expanding Alzheimer’s early detection and improving healthcare system preparedness.

One of the recipients of these global grants was a team comprised of the American Academy of Physician Associates (AAPA) and the Cleveland Clinic.

There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but the American Academy of Physicians Associates say early detection is key.