Outlining support strategies for Alzheimer's patients and caregivers


Alzheimer's disease

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The National Alzheimer's Project Act (NAPA) was signed into law in 2011. In the past five years, milestones have been identified to meet the plan's biomedical research goal. However, similar milestones have not been created for the goals on patient care and caregiver support.

Now, the Alzheimer's Association National Plan Care and Support Milestone Workgroup has developed and recommended milestones for patient and caregiver support and outlined achievement strategies.

Among the strategies for attainment of patient care milestones are:

  • Building a workforce with the skills to provide high-quality care.
  • Ensuring timely and accurate diagnosis.
  • Educating and supporting people with Alzheimer's disease and their families on diagnosis.
  • Identifying high-quality dementia care guidelines and measures across care settings.

Among the strategies for attainment of caregiver support milestones:

  • Ensuring receipt of culturally sensitive education, training, support materials.
  • Enabling family caregivers to continue to provide care while maintaining their own health and well-being.
  • Assisting families in planning for future care needs.
  • Maintaining the dignity and rights of people with Alzheimer's disease.
  • Assessing and addressing the housing needs of people with Alzheimer's disease.

Milestones include equipping and requiring clinicians to disclose cognitive status to people with clinically consequential cognitive impairment, building upon on existing efforts to reduce inappropriate use of antipsychotics and other psychotropic drugs and enhancing care coordination.

An estimated 5.4 million Americans currently are living with Alzheimer's disease. By 2050, as many as 16 million Americans will have the disease.

"The Alzheimer's Association's National Plan Care and Support Milestones Workgroup has created the first-ever, single, comprehensive listing of all the public policies needed to create an ideal care and support system for people with Alzheimer's and their families," said Matthew Baumgart, senior director of public policy for the Alzheimer's Association, who served as the lead staff member for the workgroup. "It is crucial that while we invest in more research to find preventions and treatments, we do not forget those who are living with the disease. These care and support milestones should serve as a call to action to all levels of government."