Effort seeks to help health systems improve health outcomes
and manage costs for people living with dementia
CHICAGO, December 16, 2019 —
The Alzheimer’s Association® announced today that it has launched a new health systems initiative aimed at facilitating and enhancing dementia care in the clinical setting. The Alzheimer’s Association is working to engage more than 300 health systems across the country to offer proven solutions for improving health outcomes and more effectively managing the cost of care for people living with dementia.
The new initiative seeks to partner with health systems and clinicians to improve access to timely detection and quality care. The Alzheimer’s Association has hired 21 regional health systems directors to help increase awareness and utilization of existing Alzheimer’s Association resources, tools and training aimed at enhancing dementia care in the clinical setting. These regional directors will also solicit feedback from providers to evolve and enhance ways the Alzheimer’s Association can support their work.
“Our work with health systems and clinicians is two-fold,” said Joanne Pike Dr.P.H., chief program officer, Alzheimer’s Association. “We want to support providers with strategies and solutions that can ensure quality care for people living with dementia, but we also want to better understand the needs of providers, so we can be an asset in helping them meet the complex care needs of individuals and families affected.”
Specifically, the new initiative will work with health systems and clinicians to achieve the following:
- Improve health outcomes – Facilitate timely and accurate diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and other dementias, improve care management, and prevent complications among older adults with comorbid conditions.
- Enhance the clinical experience for people living with dementia and their caregivers – Ensure communication that provides educated answers and well-planned next steps, so that individuals and their families can access care services, make future financial plans and participate in clinical trials.
- Reduce the burden on clinicians – Empower clinicians with the training, resources and support to deliver a difficult diagnosis and provide follow-up care through an interdisciplinary approach that optimizes the roles of the clinician and other members of the health care team.
- Manage cost of care more effectively – Work with health systems and clinicians to enhance disease management following a diagnosis, including strategies that can prevent or reduce unnecessary hospitalizations and emergency department visits.
“When dementia care is not managed well, or not at all, health outcomes are much worse and the costs are much higher,” Pike said. “By working with health systems, we aim to improve both sides of the equation, where people living with dementia get timely, high-quality care and the cost to the system is lower.”
Alzheimer’s is the most expensive disease in the United States. In 2019, total payments for caring for Americans age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s or other dementias will surpass a quarter of a trillion dollars ($290 billion). Studies have shown that early diagnosis and proper management of Alzheimer’s and other dementias can improve health outcomes and reduce costs.
“Dementia care is complex and expensive,” Pike said. “There are more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s and that number is rising. We want to work with health systems and clinicians to meet this growing demand by ensuring people living with dementia have high-quality, patient-centered care and that their care is managed efficiently and cost-effectively.”
The Alzheimer’s Association offers a variety of resources to support health systems and clinicians throughout the disease continuum, including early detection and diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and other dementias, management of these conditions, and care planning and support services following a diagnosis.
For a complete listing of available resources to support health systems and clinicians, go to: www.alz.org/professionals/health-systems-clinicians
The Alzheimer's Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's. For more information, visit www.alz.org.