The Department of Health and Human Services recently drafted a plan to address the nation’s growing Alzheimer’s problem, but its framework fails to fully acknowledge the role of assisted living in caring for those with the disease, the Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA) recently pointed out.
In response, ALFA is campaigning that assisted living’s role be mentioned and included more fully in the National Alzheimer’s Project Act’s goals and strategies. The HHS is accepting comments on its Draft Framework for the plan through Feb. 8, 2012, and the assisted living group has submitted a comment letter with some suggestions and recommendations.
Among the suggestions is adding licensed assisted living communities to the list of possible care settings to which individuals may be transferred after hospitals, along with including or mentioning assisted living in other areas of the framework.
“We were shocked that assisted living was not included as a setting [for] serving individuals with Alzheimer’s disease,” said Maribeth Bersani, senior vice president of public policy at ALFA. “We are a provider. We have companies that specialize in dementia-only care, and others who provide it with assisted living. We’re the leading consumer choice for the elderly, so it was just startling to us.”
A significant portion (42%) of assisted living residents have Alzheimer’s, according to the 2010 National Survey of Residential Care Facilities conducted by the Center for Disease Control’s National Center for Health Statistics, and ALFA says it expects this trend to continue as “many consumers prefer the state of the art programming that has been developed for memory impaired residents in assisted living.”
“The omission of assisted living is completely unacceptable,” ALFA said in a statement, urging others to also submit comment to correct the omission before the national plan is finalized.
“We hope to rectify that [omission], though,” Bersani told SHN, adding that the organization recognizes that this has been a draft, and not the final framework. “We have confidence that they will correct this.”
View ALFA’s comment letter here.
Written by Alyssa Gerace