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University of Chicago Medical Center

Project Overview

Alzheimer's disease, together with other types of progressive dementia, constitutes one of the most common terminal illnesses among America's aging population. Currently, relatively few people with dementia receive hospice, or palliative, care focused on comfort and the emotional, social and spiritual well-being.

A University of Chicago clinical research team implemented a two-part program to improve end-of-life care for dementia patients. Greg A. Sachs, M.D., associate professor of medicine at the University of Chicago, and nationally known researcher in geriatrics and dementia care, collaborated with researchers at the Hospice of Michigan to extend palliative care to people with Alzheimer’s disease and their families, and to develop protocols blending state-of-the-art medical, comfort and supportive care.

Called PEACE, for Palliative Excellence in Alzheimer's Care Efforts, the program offered an innovative approach to improving the quality of life for patients and their loved ones and represents a constructive model for clinicians across the nation.

At the University of Chicago, PEACE was centered within a primary care geriatric practice. In Michigan, the PEACE team provided care for patients with dementia in nursing homes in the Greater Detroit area. In both settings, researchers assessed the extent to which the PEACE program impacted clinical care, costs and patient and family satisfaction.

The Chicago area Alzheimer's Association and its Greater Chicagoland and Detroit chapters supported both projects.



After the Grant

Project researchers at the University of Chicago sustained PEACE as a formal program and expanded it to include frail elderly patients with diagnoses other than dementia. In Michigan, nursing homes incorporated anticipatory care planning and treatment policies into their practice.

Contact Information

Principal Investigators:
Greg A. Sachs, M.D. and Patricia Hanrahan, Ph.D.
University of Chicago Medical Center
5841 South Maryland Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637-1470
Phone: 773.702.0102
Fax: 773.702.3538
Email:mailto:[email protected]
Email:[email protected]

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Promoting Excellence in End-of-Life Care was a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation dedicated to long-term changes in health care institutions to substantially improve care for dying people and their families.