New Funds Will Fuel Alzheimer’s Breakthroughs, But More Still Needed
The Alzheimer’s Association and its sister organization the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement (AIM), achieved a major legislative victory this week as Congress will approve a $400 million increase for Alzheimer’s research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The historic increase is the largest ever to go toward research for Alzheimer’s, and was achieved despite the Administration’s proposed budget cuts.
The increase brings the total Alzheimer’s research budget at NIH to $1.391 billion — moving closer to the annual funding an expert panel of scientists say is needed to prevent or effectively treat Alzheimer’s by 2025 — the goal established in the National Alzheimer’s Plan. (read more about FY18 funding)
New Resource Guides Clinicians on Care Planning
In response to a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) ruling issued last fall covering care planning for cognitive impairment, including Alzheimer’s and other dementias, the Alzheimer’s Association developed a new comprehensive toolkit to help primary care providers deliver these services.
The Cognitive Impairment Care Planning Toolkit, available at alz.org/careplanning serves as a resource for clinicians to understand what the G0505 Medicare code covers, and to provide a wide variety of resources for clinicians to use in care planning sessions.
“Proper care planning results in fewer hospitalizations, fewer emergency room visits, and better management of medication — all of which improves the quality of life for both patients and caregivers, and helps manage overall care costs,” said Beth Kallmyer, Alzheimer’s Association Vice President of Constituent Services.” (read more)
Bolstering Palliative Care and Hospice Workforce to Support People with Alzheimer’s
Palliative and hospice care are critical services for people living with Alzheimer’s, but the availability of these services is often lacking. Today, less than half of surveyed nursing homes report having a palliative care program. In those that do offer programs, only 42 percent include consultation by a physician certified in hospice/palliative care, and only 28 percent have a designated director of palliative care on their staff.
To bridge this gap, the Alzheimer’s Association is supporting federal legislation aimed at educating providers on palliative and hospice care — with a focus on managing and easing symptoms, reducing pain, decreasing stress and increasing comfort which can improve both the quality of care and quality of life for those with advanced dementia.
Studies show individuals with advanced dementia who are enrolled in hospice have a lower rate of dying in the hospital, a lower rate of hospitalization in the last 30 days of life and better symptom management. Nursing home residents with dementia who receive end-of-life palliative care, compared with those who do not, are:
- Up to 15 times less likely to die in the hospital
- Nearly 2.5 times less likely to be hospitalized in the last 30 days of life
- Up to 4.6 times less likely to have an emergency room visit in the last week of life
Beltway Ads Highlight High Cost of Alzheimer’s
The Alzheimer’s Association recently launched a Beltway-focused ad campaign aimed at educating policymakers on the growing budget impact of Alzheimer’s.
For the first time ever, it now costs more than a quarter of a trillion dollars ($259 billion) annually to care for individuals living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias in the United States. Of that total, 51 percent comes from Medicare ($131 billion), 17 percent comes from Medicaid ($44 billion) and 22 percent comes from individuals’ pockets ($56 billion). According to the Alzheimer’s Association 2017 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report, out-of-pocket costs for people affected by Alzheimer’s are startlingly high, despite support from Medicare and Medicaid. In fact, annual per-person payments for seniors with Alzheimer’s and other dementias are almost five times higher ($10,315) than those for seniors without these conditions ($2,232).
As the population of Americans affected by the disease continues to rise, so too does the cost of care. Today, there are an estimated 5.5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s. By 2050, that number could rise as high as 16 million, and costs could reach $1.1 trillion.
More information and resources: 2017 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures Fact Sheet