New Report Provides Update on Federal Battle Against Alzheimer's

Dorian Martin Health Guide

    There’s progress! The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the 2013 update on the National Alzheimer’s Plan, which was initially released in May 2012. This plan was mandated by the bipartisan National Alzheimer’s Project Act, which was passed unanimously in 2010 by Congress.

    "The Alzheimer's Association commends HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for her ongoing work to ensure a strong implementation of the National Alzheimer's Plan and the inclusion of a timeline to reach the Plan's goal of preventing and effectively treating Alzheimer's disease by 2025," said Harry Johns, President and CEO of the Alzheimer's Association and member of the Advisory Council to the Plan. "So that this plan called for by Congress can be translated into results, Congress now must continue its leadership by supporting the additional $100 million included in the President's fiscal year 2014 budget for the fight against Alzheimer's."

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    National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease: 2013 Update offers an update on progress by each goal. I’m going to share the progress on the first two goals in this sharepost and then continue with the others in another sharepost tomorrow.

    For the first goal which is focused on preventing and effectively treating Alzheimer’s disease, the report offers the following progress:

    • The first Alzheimer’s Disease Research Summit was held in May 2012, with a second one planned in 2015 to revisit priorities, milestones and timeline.
    • The National Institute on Aging has collected information based on a request for information on Alzheimer’s disease research priorities in 2012. The department’s representatives have used this information to meet with funders and to discuss priorities.
    • A research workshop on Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias was held in May 2013 in order to gain insight on special research priorities and timelines for addressing dementias. A report will be released that summarizes the workshop’s recommendations, which will then be used to update the National Plan as appropriate.
    • A new, publicly available database has been created to detail the full spectrum of Alzheimer’s disease research investments and resources in the United States and internationally.
    • A funder’s meeting was held during the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in July 2012. Additionally, the National Institutes on Aging is exploring collaboration with the European Union Joint Programming Initiative on Neurodegenerative Diseases Research.
    • Added an action item to issue guidance about drugs for early stage Alzheimer’s disease.
    • Added an action to expand and disseminate research on co-occurring conditions and dementias.

    For Goal 2, which is designed to enhance care quality and efficiency, the following progress was described:

    • HHS began a comprehensive effort in 2012 to educate health care providers about Alzheimer’s disease, including tools to identify dementia, signs and symptoms of dementia, caregiver needs, managing dementia in the context of other chronic diseases, accessing long-term services, managing care transitions, participation in clinical traits ad effective behavior management for people who have dementia.
    • HHS is working to strengthen the ability of nursing home staff to provide high-quality person-centered care for people with Alzheimer’s disease through enhanced training videos that were disseminated to every nursing home in the nation.
    • A new action was created to develop and disseminate a unified primary care Alzheimer’s disease curriculum
    • A new action was created to ensure that aging network providers have access to research-based up-to-date information on Alzheimer’s disease.
    • A new action was created to engage the public health workforce on brain health.
    • A new action was created to educate providers abut federal programs to address Alzheimer’s disease.
    • A new action was created to strengthen the ability of primary care teams for Indian Country to meet the need of Native Americans who have dementia and their caregivers.
    • HHS has worked to strengthen the ability of existing long-term services and support systems to meet the unique needs of those affected by Alzheimer’s disease through strengthening the Aging Network’s awareness of available family caregiver assessment tools, resource materials and support programs.
    • An action was added to connect American Indian and Alaska Natives to Alzheimer’s disease resources.
    • An action was added to identify and review measures of high-quality dementia care.
    • An action was added to convene an expert panel on advanced dementia.
    • An action was created to share results and lessons learned about new models in the Veterans Health Administration system with federal partners.
    • An action was added to enhance understanding of avoidable hospitalizations and emergency department use among people who have Alzheimer’s disease.
    • An action was created to identify and dissemination information on interventions to reduce preventable hospitalizations.
    • A review was conducted of the evidence on care coordination for people with Alzheimer’s disease. A report summarizing the research literature on these models is scheduled to be released this month.
    • An action was added to evaluate service delivery models that integrate acute care and long-term services and supports.
    • A taskforce has been created to improve care for populations disproportionately affected by Alzheimer’s disease as well as for populations facing care challenges.
    • Steps have been identified to ensure access to long-term services and supports for younger people who have Alzheimer’s disease.


  • Primary Sources for This Sharepost:

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    The Wall Street Journal. (2013). HHS releases 2013 update to the National Alzheimer’s Plan.

    U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2013). National plan to address Alzheimer’s disease: 2013 update.

Published On: June 20, 2013