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Dubuque County brain health providers coming together to assess needs for seniors

Published: Sep. 1, 2021 at 9:58 PM CDT
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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) - Two Dubuque organizations are coming together to find gaps in brain health services for seniors in Dubuque County, as part of a year-long study aimed at improving resources surrounding mental health.

Experts said that tackling this issue is especially important now because of the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A technology firm called Heudia, LLC, will pair data from mental health services providers, like UnityPoint Health-Finley Hospital and Hillcrest Family Services, who are putting together the study, with that of 911 services, as well as census resources. Holding focus groups and conducting community surveys are also part of the project.

Ann Cameron Williams, the county’s director of disability services, said the COVID-19 pandemic has really highlighted the need for good service for seniors.

”Just like some people are in great shape physically and then some of us could lose 20 pounds, all of us are either in a state of brain mental wellness or we are in a place where we need some brain supports and services,” Williams said. “And it is okay for people to ask for help.”

Cameron Williams said the pandemic has forced elders to go through very significant experiences, like isolation. She added she expected this project will help them tackle one of the three rising populations for people facing brain health issues in the county.

“The three populations that are in need of brain health services that are emerging and rising in the industry are children, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities as well as seniors,” Williams said. “So this will be a first step into really having a better understanding of what we need to do and then we will figure out how we need to do it.”

The project is expected to cost close to $45,000. The money will come from the fund balance of the East-Central Region.

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