The number of individuals affected with Alzheimer’s disease is growing proportionately to the overall aging population, with the number of 65+ households expected to increase 35% by 2020, and in response the Department of Health and Human Services is drafting a framework for a national plan address this disease.
An estimated 13.5 million Americans age 65 and older are projected to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s by 2050, up from 5.1 million in 2010, according to estimates from the Alzheimer’s Association.
The HHS framework draft lists five goals that encompass preventing and effectively treating the disease; enhancing care quality and efficiency; expanding patient and family support; and enhancing public awareness and engagement. Each goal includes several strategies for accomplishing objectives.
The manner and place in which Alzheimer’s patients receive care is a growing concern in the nation, and the HHS’s second goal of enhancing care quality addresses care settings.
One strategy is to identify and implement high-quality dementia care guidelines and measures across care settings, to ensure that those with the disease “receive high-quality care in the many different settings where they are treated.”
Another approach is to ensure that Alzheimer’s patients can be safely transitioned between care settings and systems, such as moves from hospitals to skilled nursing facilities, or from nursing homes to hospitals.
“A transition between providers and care settings is a complex time of care delivery for all patients but especially for frail elders or other individuals with Alzheimer’s disease,” says the HHS.
A third plan is to better coordinate and integrate health and long-term care services and supports.
“More research is needed to determine how best to provide such care in a high-quality and cost-efficient manner. These answers will help in the implementation of care coordination models for people with Alzheimer’s disease,” the draft framework says.
To assist in creating the framework, the HHS has put together an Advisory Council that will meet quarterly discuss the efficiency of various government programs targeting the needs of those affected by Alzheimer’s.
More information about the National Alzheimer’s Project Act can be found here.
Written by Alyssa Gerace