Protect Residents In Long Term Care Settings From COVID-19 and Social Isolation
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, long-term care (LTC) residents, their families and staff have been in crisis. Residents are suffering from social isolation and higher death rates, and families desperately want to be with their loved ones to socialize and help address their care needs. For those living with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia, maintaining a daily routine and receiving person-centered care is paramount to their overall cognitive, physical and behavioral health. This is especially important considering that nearly half of LTC residents are living with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia. As the threat of the pandemic continues, the Alzheimer’s Association will continue working with state leaders to ensure people living with dementia have access to high quality person-centered care while ensuring appropriate prevention and mitigation strategies remain in place to allow for safe visitation.
Increase Alzheimer’s Early Detection and Diagnosis to Improve Care Planning and Quality of Life
Approximately 50% of people living with Alzheimer’s or other dementias never receive a formal diagnosis. One in 10 Pennsylvanians aged 45 and over experience worsening confusion and memory loss, but nearly half of them have not talked to a health care provider about it. The lack of a diagnosis limits one’s ability to engage in care planning and access available resources. Physicians are on the front lines in addressing this critical issue, thus it is critical they have the training they need to make a diagnosis or referral to best serve their patient. The Alzheimer’s Association is urging state legislators to enact legislation to promote broader public awareness about Alzheimer’s and dementia and education for health care providers in early detection and diagnosis.
Equip Pennsylvania With a Dementia-Capable Workforce
Individuals with Alzheimer’s and other dementia have unique needs that often make care delivery, communication and interaction more challenging and demanding. Direct care workers in long-term care settings, in-home services and adult day settings often do not have sufficient dementia-specific knowledge to effectively support those living with the disease. At the same time, adult protective services workers, law enforcement and first responders are among the first to be contacted and interact regarding emergencies, abuse, neglect and financial exploitation. The Alzheimer’s Association will educate state policymakers on the importance of a dementia-capable workforce and advocate for policies that provide competency-based dementia training for all direct care workers, and dementia-specific training for adult protective service workers, law enforcement personnel and first responders.
Enhance the PA Caregiver Support Program to Further Benefit Alzheimer’s Caregivers
The Pennsylvania Caregiver Support Program provides caregivers with much needed support to help ease costs associated with providing care and additional care management tools to help alleviate stress. Unfortunately, current state law prevents Pennsylvania caregivers from fully benefiting from the program. The Alzheimer’s Association supports House Bill 464 and Senate Bill 195, legislation that would address this by removing the monthly care plan cost cap, the monthly aggregate reimbursement limit, and the home modification lifetime limits and would allow the PA Department of Aging to determine monthly amounts. The legislation would also ensure that family caregivers of individuals with younger-onset Alzheimer’s have access to critical services. Increasing access to care for people with dementia will improve their quality of life and prevent or delay the need for residential long-term care.
Pennsylvania State Plan Overview
In February 2013, Governor Tom Corbett issued Executive Order 2013-01 to establish the Pennsylvania Alzheimer's Disease Planning Committee. Twenty-six members were appointed to the committee which included a Pennsylvanian living with Alzheimer's disease, representatives of families and caregivers of persons living with and caring for individuals living with ADRD; the aging network, other state agencies, providers from across the care continuum, leading researchers in pursuit of a cure and better care, and members of the legislature. Chaired by the Secretary of the Department of Aging, the Planning Committee gathered public input from across the state to inform their recommendations. The Pennsylvania State Plan for Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders was published in February 2014. The Department of Aging is currently focused on the implementation of the state plan and hosts an Annual Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Forum each fall.
Pennsylvania State Advocacy Day
April 19, 2021
Join us on April 19th at 11:00 a.m. to kick-off 2021 PA Virtual Advocate Impact Week! Help us turn the Pennsylvania State Capitol purple virtually April 19th through the 23rd by uniting your voice with other volunteer advocates from across the Commonwealth to help bring awareness to the impact of Alzheimer’s and other dementia on Pennsylvanians. Virtually share your story and advocate for statewide policy change to improve the care, support and services for those living with Alzheimer’s and other dementia and the people caring for them. Then on Wednesday, April 21st at Noon, join us as we host a Town Hall with PA Secretary of Aging, Robert Torres.