Alzheimer’s ranks sixth among the leading causes of death in the United States, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Despite this stark statistic, Alzheimer’s sufferers continue to languish in oblivion – left out and struggling silently – in a society seemingly unconcerned about their well-being, notes the New Social Worker. Indeed, the effects of the disease are often devastating for both patients and families. Recently, however, Debbie Stabenow, a U.S. Senator from Michigan, has been championing the Health Outcomes, Planning, and Education (HOPE) for Alzheimer’s Act. What does the proposed legislation aim to achieve? Here’s a sneak peek at what the Act proposes.
Promoting Early Diagnosis
The HOPE legislation aims to ensure that patients receive early diagnosis so that, after consultations among their caregivers and physicians, they can access quality health care. Existing research on Alzheimer’s indicates that patients lack the care they deserve, according to the New Social Worker. The Act proposes increased understanding of the disease among health care providers and patients. Additionally, early diagnosis would enable social workers to engage in patient care at the onset of the ailment and thereby offer hope to patients, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
The Act also proposes a requirement that physicians document Alzheimer’s in their patients’ medical records, according to the New Social Worker. This would in turn facilitate tracking of the patient’s progress and improve care. The HOPE Act would give the roughly five million Alzheimer’s patients in the United States a chance at improved diagnosis, as well as access to more detailed treatment options and support, allowing them to enjoy efficient care delivery, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Eliminating Long-Held Misconceptions
The New Social Worker notes that misconceptions in care-giving lead to inadequate diagnosis and limit the options for care that patients can access. What’s more, a recent report indicates that health care providers often withhold Alzheimer’s diagnosis from the patient due to the misconception that there are no treatments for the ailment, notes the Detroit Free Press. The legislation seeks to increase awareness of the ailment, thereby fostering diagnosis and care.
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While Alzheimer’s may not be curable, patients need not battle the disease in solitude. It is incumbent upon society to empower physicians and patients through legislation. Sign our petition urging congress members to support this important legislation! https://thealzheimerssite.com/clickToGive/alz/petition/HopeActWhizzco