The International Dementia Scholars Collaborative (IDSC) is an international and interprofessional group of researchers whose interdisciplinary research, practice, and policy interests are focused on the issues of persons with dementia and cognitive impairment.
The mission of the IDSC is to work together as colleagues and collaborators in a blend of scientific, social, and recreational activities to change current dementia practices and to mentor future dementia research scholars.
In 2001, Lin Buettner was a member of the American Therapeutic Recreation Association Board of Directors and was assigned the task of bringing together 15 leaders in the field of geriatric recreation therapy. She and Sue Fitzsimmons, who bridged Advanced Nursing and RT, joined forces with the sole purpose of forming a consensus for the Dementia Practice Guidelines for Recreation Therapy. Beginning as Dementia Day Camp (DDC), this group first came together at Florida Gulf Coast University and at the home of Lin Buettner in 2002.
These individuals, each with an average of 15 years of clinical experience in dementia care, met at FGCU during the day and Buettner’s house in Port Charlotte, Florida, at night to make decisions on the format, theories, and contributions to include in the guidelines. It was an incredibly exciting time for our profession. During the process, Buettner and Fitzsimmons prepared an extensive literature review and suggested that ATRA use the University of Iowa Gerontological Nursing Evidence Based Practice template as the format. The group agreed on these areas and were all invigorated to fill the holes in the recreation therapy research. This group worked all day and night for 3 days to hammer out the key issues and to plan a research agenda. It was such a hopeful time for the profession because our public policy team was also working to include RT as a physician-ordered service available to all nursing home residents in the next version of the MDS. All members of DDC had assignments, including Buettner and Fitzsimmons, who spent 8 months writing the 400 page DPG and national training program. The original group decided to meet again at the ATRA conference mid-year (DDC II), and again in Florida in 2003 (DDC III) to make sure the publication moved forward. This was the first practice guideline for the field of recreation therapy and, in the three years that followed, national trainings took place regionally and at national conferences. Over 1000 recreation therapists were registered as DPG therapists and were working to provide evidence-based interventions for neuropsychiatric behaviors in their facilities.
In 2012, the group changed its name to the International Dementia Scholars Collaborative to reflect the evolution of the members involved.