FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | June 17, 2013
Statement from Alzheimer’s Foundation of America on
‘National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease: 2013 Update’
NEW YORK (June 17, 2013) — The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) , a leading national nonprofit organization dedicated to optimal care for people with Alzheimer’s disease and their families, issued this statement in response to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ release on June 14 of the “National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease: 2013 Update.”
Statement from Carol Steinberg, president, Alzheimer’s Foundation of America:
“The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) continues to stand behind the intent and guiding principles of the ‘National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease.’ The updated plan reports on projects underway or completed since the national plan was unveiled in May 2012, and introduces new recommendations.
We appreciate efforts to date to implement the plan. These milestones have laid the groundwork for substantial change. The new action steps hold the promise of building upon the existing good work of this historic plan.
Specifically, we are pleased that the updated plan notes forward movement as well as plans to further develop and disseminate best practices related to care for people with Alzheimer’s disease, and their caregivers. Both professional and family caregivers rely on these strategies to provide quality care, to reduce costs, and to help keep people with Alzheimer’s disease independent and in the community.
New noteworthy recommendations include issuing guidance on early-stage drug therapies; developing and disseminating a unified primary care core curricula in Alzheimer’s disease; reviewing and identifying new, quality measures for care, including timeliness and accuracy of diagnostic evaluation, and patient-centered outcomes; developing protocols to avoid hospitalization and emergency room visits; increasing education and outreach about respite services to family caregivers; and taking various approaches to protect this vulnerable population from abuse and neglect. These hit at the core of caregivers’ deepest concerns and align with AFA’s recommendations to raise the bar on care.
Still, our nation has the opportunity to do more to halt this monumental public health crisis. The out-of-pocket cost of care to our nation’s families is unparalleled. Only through approaches such as making adult day services a mandatory Medicaid benefit and further availability of federal tax credits to help defray long-term care services, as AFA noted in our “Time to Build” report, will caregivers find relief in the absence of a cure.
A more defined response to this spiraling chronic disease can only come through continued action on the plan’s initial and new goals. Progress toward preventing and effectively treating Alzheimer’s disease by 2025 and bolstering clinical care and long-term care heavily depends on a significant monetary commitment. Recent efforts to boost federal funding, while admirable, fall far short of meeting impending need and challenges. Only if Congress rallies for abundant resources can we turn the tide before it is too late for current and future generations of Americans.
AFA looks forward to continuing to work with the Administration, Congress, the Advisory Council on Research, Care and Services, and other Alzheimer’s disease stakeholders to further refine the plan and push for the necessary resources to fund research and care, and change lives.”
About Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA)
The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, based in New York, is a national non-profit organization that unites more than 1,600 member organizations nationwide with the goal of providing optimal care and services to individuals confronting dementia, and to their caregivers and families. Its services include a toll-free helpline, educational materials, a free quarterly magazine for caregivers, and professional training. For more information about AFA, call toll-free 866-232-8484, visit www.alzfdn.org, follow us on Twitter (@alzfdn), and “like” us on Facebook (facebook.com/AlzheimersFoundationofAmerica).
Contact: Amanda Hirschhorn