Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Mesulam Center for Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease

Northwestern Care Pathway Program

The Care Pathway Program (CPP) guides patients with a diagnosis of dementia and families to appropriate interventions directly related to specific symptoms and developmental life stage. This program is available to the patients and families of the Northwestern Neurobehavior and Memory Clinic.  

Program Background

Extensive research shows that dementias are not uniform in the symptoms they produce and that each patient should be characterized individually based on neurobehavioral profile in order to ensure the most appropriate interventions. While most individuals with Alzheimer’s disease experience forgetfulness as the most common early clinical manifestation, there are individuals whose primary presenting symptoms are not memory loss but some other cognitive or behavioral change.  These different profiles of dementia require comprehensive and individualized interventions since they can affect daily activities in distinct ways.

What are the Care Pathways?

The four Care Pathways or cognitive symptom profiles are list in the image below. They include Memory, Language, Behavior/Emotion, and Visuospatial Functioning. A patient’s presenting and/or most predominant symptoms affecting a patients functioning and quality of life determine which Care Pathway is most fitting. Each Care Pathway has unique recommendations that are suitable for the individual.  

Care Pathway Picture

Common Recommendations Based on Care Pathway

 Each patient has a unique presentation of symptoms and factors such as lifestyle, history, and background are taken into consideration before recommendations are made.

MemoryCognitive Memory Strategies
Occupational & Speech Therapy
Communication Tips for patient and family
Behavior/EmotionBehavioral symptoms education
Caregiver support and resources
Safety resources and education
LanguageCommunication tips including using non-verbal communication strategies
Modified meaningful activities
High and Low tech communication devices including iPad or Notebook
Visuospatial functionOccupational therapy to assist with home environment modification
Visuospatial change education
Referrals to low vision resources in the community