The Alzheimer’s Association has just released twenty recommendations for best practices in diagnosing Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias (ADRD). The recommendations were reported at the 2018 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, held this week in Chicago.
The most crucial aspects of the recommendations include the admonition not to dismiss concerns as “normal aging,” but to evaluate all concerns about mental, behavioral, and functional changes. Another significant recommendation is to include the patient’s caregiver when taking a medical history. Often, the patient themselves may not notice all of the changes that are occurring, particularly the cognitive changes, but their caregiver will.
According to the workgroup that developed the guidelines, using these practices will allow earlier and more accurate diagnoses of ADRD. This will grant three major advantages to ADRD patients and their loved ones.
Diagnosing ADRD earlier will:
- Allow the patient to participate more in decisions regarding their treatment, care, and legal/financial planning
- Make early intervention possible, which can lead to better outcomes
- Increase the opportunity of participating in promising Alzheimer’s research studies
The guidelines also emphasize the importance of communication with the patient and their family, which should lead to better care as the disease progresses.
The result, according to Dr. Alireza Atri, the lead author of the guidelines? Empowerment of patients, family members, and doctors, as well as “a compassionate way to help patients and families live the best lives possible.”
There’s not much more we could ask for, when dealing with Alzheimer’s or any other disease.
Although the guidelines are new, Atlantic Coast Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center, in Lakewood, NJ, has always held compassion and communication as two of the cornerstones of our patient-centered care. This is true for our Memory Impaired Care unit, as well as our rehab and skilled nursing care units.
To get the best care for yourself or your loved one, contact us at 732-364-7100 or by clicking here.
See the complete Alzheimer’s Association Best Clinical Practice Guidelines here.