Last week, on Alzheimer's Action Day--September 21st--U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) signed on as a cosponsor of the Health Outcomes, Planning, and Education (HOPE) for Alzheimer's Act. While roughly 5.4 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease, only half receive a formal diagnosis. Better care starts with a diagnosis, yet physician visits are typically too brief for a full assessment of a patient's symptoms. Even when a diagnosis occurs, families are often left to figure out what to do about the person's care, and incomplete medical records lead to worse patient and caregiver outcomes.
The HOPE for Alzheimer's Act helps solve this problem by allowing doctors to conduct in-depth diagnostic interviews and in-depth care planning appointments with patients and their families.
"Thousands of Ohioans are living with Alzheimer's disease, but only half of patients are formally diagnosed," Brown said. "The HOPE for Alzheimer's Act provides a common-sense way to enhance the proper diagnosis and treatment of patients with symptoms of this disease, leading to better care and patient outcomes--while giving families and caretakers the tools they need to support a loved one."
"I'm very pleased that Senator Brown has signed on as a co-sponsor of the HOPE for Alzheimer's Act and that he did so on Alzheimer's Action Day, a day devoted to helping raise awareness of the global fight against Alzheimer's disease by calling attention to the 36 million people worldwide living with dementia and the millions of caregivers whose lives are so affected by this disease," said Ken Bravo, who serves as a member of the National Alzheimer's Association Cleveland Area Chapter's public policy committee.
A proper diagnosis and care planning are important because:
Patients and caregivers can consider the treatments and support services they may wish to use, including participating in a clinical trial.
The disease can be more effectively managed in terms of medications, counseling, financial and long-term care planning, and driving and safety issues.
Documentation in the primary medical record enables health care providers to anticipate complications in managing other health conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes.