Safety First, Science Second

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Wisconsin ADRC has worked to balance good scientific research with participant and staff safety. We followed a "safety first, science second" approach that allowed us to continue research while also minimizing our participants’ risk of infection from the coronavirus. Since the start of the pandemic, the Clinical Core has been gathering as much research study information as possible over the phone in order to reduce or eliminate the need for people to attend in-person visits.

    With the expanding availability of COVID-19 vaccines and decreasing numbers of new cases, the Clinical Core study team resumed in-person study visits in spring 2021. You may receive a call inviting you to schedule your upcoming study visit or a portion of it in person. In-person visits are critical to our research because of the meaningful data they provide, particularly through cognitive test results, blood tests, and biomarkers (MRI scans, PET imaging, and lumbar punctures). We continue to require masking, physical distancing, and strict cleaning protocols during research study visits to protect the health of our research participants and staff. We also understand that some participants may prefer to continue their participation remotely; telephone-based visits will remain an option in these cases. Thank you for your continued cooperation as we navigate these unprecedented circumstances.

    UW Health guidelines

    UW Health requires every person (providers, staff, patients, visitors, research participants, etc.) in UW Health facilities (all spaces, including non-clinical areas) to wear a minimum of a barrier mask covering the nose and mouth. Patients who arrive with a cloth face covering will be provided with a barrier mask, which provides a higher level of protection. 

    Read more about the UW Health Patient and Visitor Guidelines and the University Hospital/Clinical Research Unit (CRU) safety precautions and guidelines.

    Frequently asked questions

    Below are some frequently asked questions about the modified telephone-based research visits, as well as resources research participants will find helpful when preparing for a telephone or in-person visit.

    What is included in a telephone research visit?

    Not all tests from a traditional in-person visit can be given over the phone. The following is a list of key points that describe a two-part telephone visit:

    • Part 1 involves both the study participant and the study partner.
      • The study coordinator will start the visit by speaking with the study partner for approximately 30 to 40 minutes.

      • After speaking to the study partner, the coordinator will then speak with the participant (about an hour after the start of the visit). The coordinator/participant portion will take approximately 1.5 hours. This portion of the visit involves answering questions and verbal memory tests.

      • Following the telephone visit, participants may be invited to complete an in-person biomarker visit at University Hospital. A biomarker visit may include a blood draw, MRI, PET scan and lumbar puncture.

    • Part 2 will be a discussion between the participant and one of our clinicians. Part 2 visits will take approximately 45 minutes. The participant will be asked questions about family history and medical history and be given the opportunity to ask the clinician about questions or concerns.

    What is the telephone visit scheduling process and timeline?

    A staff member will call you to schedule your telephone-based Clinical Core research visit, and if eligible, an in-person visit.

    How will study partners be included in the telephone visits?

    We hope we can interview your study partner over the phone around the same time as your scheduled telephone visit. Please have your study partner’s name and updated contact information ready — you will be asked about this information when our staff calls you to schedule your telephone visit. Please let your study partner know the date and time of your telephone visit, and remind them that we will be contacting them around this time.

    How has COVID-19 affected research?

    Throughout the pandemic, science has continued at the Wisconsin ADRC. While visits were suspended, our investigators and lab teams analyzed data, wrote papers for publication in scientific journals, and submitted grant applications for future studies. Starting in mid-March 2020, our staff began working primarily from home. In July 2020 we opened our offices and allowed some of our key staff members to return to their labs and worksites on a limited basis, and as of September 2021 our full staff has returned to in-office work.

    COVID-19 has also changed what we study. Social isolation, loneliness, and depression are serious conditions that increase a person’s risk for developing dementia. We want to know how COVID-19 has affected our Clinical Core participants, and if it affects people with dementia differently. Some of the research questionnaires you will complete will help us gather this information and allow us to study the social and mental health consequences of the pandemic. 

    What should I do if I'm experiencing symptoms of COVID-19?

    If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms of COVID-19, please contact us at (608) 263-2582 to cancel your visit.

    • Fever or chills
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Fatigue
    • Muscle or body aches
    • Headache
    • New loss of taste or smell
    • Sore throat
    • Congestion or runny nose
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Diarrhea

    Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for information on what to do if you are sick.

    Contact

    If you have questions, email us at adrc@medicine.wisc.edu, or call (608) 263-2582.

    Updated 5/24/2021