Rippl, the senior-focused mental health startup from former Aegis Living President Kris Engskov is involved in a new effort aimed at improving dementia care.
The Seattle-based company on Monday announced it had formed a new partnership with McLean Hospital — the largest Harvard Medical School psychiatric facility and member of Mass General Brigham — to create a “first of its kind” training model for dementia caregivers.
Rippl is a virtual platform through which users can gain access to on-demand information and assistance for patients and caregivers. The company’s core care model employs a nurse practitioner, a psychiatric nurse practitioner, a licensed social worker and an unlicensed “care navigator” to help coordinate care.
The two organizations are developing a proprietary new program called Rippl Academy, which is planned to be exclusively designed for Rippl’s clinicians. By taking part in the training series, licensed care professionals such as nurse practitioners, social workers and care navigators can glean “essential knowledge and expertise” for working with older adults living with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.
Rippl and McLean are building the training using the latest senior mental health care research data, with a dual goal of giving older adults more access to mental healthcare services while increasing the dementia care workforce, according to Rippl Founder Kris Engskov.
“There is such a vacuum and care for this population, driven by the lack of clinicians who are knowledgeable about the space,” Engskov told Senior Housing News. “The McLean collaboration will be the foundational content for that academy.”
The need to grow and evolve the senior living industry dementia care offerings is great given the demand wave just over the horizon in the form of the baby boomers, he added. And even among today’s residents the need for mental health services is great, with almost three-fourths of residents in assisted living and memory care communities needing some kind of behavioral health services, according to a 2022 analysis from NORC at the University of Chicago.
Rippl already works with several senior living companies as a wraparound behavioral healthcare for seniors, their families and caregivers. Its current senior living partners include GenCare, which is working with Rippl to implement a new behavioral health program
Engskov officially launched Rippl with $32 million in seed funding about a year ago. The company’s initial backers included Arch Venture Partners, General Catalyst, GV, F-Prime Capital and Mass General Brigham Ventures.