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The long reach of Alzheimer's
Date:4/8/2014

of work productivity and declines in their own health.

Alzheimer's carries far-reaching implications for the policy community, as the impact of dementia reaches well beyond the individual patient and his or her caregivers, Bynum says.

The Policy Implications:

  • Science and technology. Funding policies are critical for research to close gaps in scientific knowledge about pathophysiological cause of the disease, how to prevent it, detect it early and accurately, and how to slow it, if not cure it.

  • Health care. Payment policy and regulatory functions in Medicare have direct implications for people living with dementia who are heavy users of hospital-based care.

  • Long-term services and supports. Payment policy for nursing homes and strategies to support community living are fundamental for people with late disease. About 75 percent of people with dementia will spend time in a nursing home at some point in their disease. Medicaid is the primary payer for two-thirds' nursing home expenditures, which cause budgetary issues, especially for states.

  • Public health. Addressing healthy lifestyle and risk factors as well as community readiness are important for a population approach to managing the growing burden of dementia.

  • Housing and community services. Critically important to support for those who wish to remain in their homes, are services such as those related to the rights of the elderly, Meals on Wheels, caregiver support, adult day care and senior centers. These community services are less costly than nursing home care, but less visible to federal policy makers because they are organized on the local level.

  • Labor. New policies may be required to address the challenge of ensuring a competent and adequate workforce, especially for hands-on caregivers, such as personal care assistants, home health aides, and nursing assistants.

  • Justice and law enforcement. Relevant polic
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Contact: Annmarie Christensen
Annmarie.Christensen@Dartmouth.edu
603-653-0897
The Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth
Source:Eurekalert

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