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Alzheimer’s disease costs an estimated $1 billion annually — placing it right behind heart disease and cancer in straining the U.S. health care delivery system, according to the Alzheimer’s Association in Chicago. Providing appropriate care for the more than 4 million Americans suffering from Alzheimer’s poses difficult challenges for health care organizations. The average Alzheimer’s patient survives an average of eight years and as many as 20 years with this multifaceted disease which leaves its victims with a unique set of social, medical, and psychological needs. The average lifetime cost of caring for an Alzheimer’s patient is $174,000, a staggering one considering that the Alzheimer’s population in the United States is expected to reach 14 million by 2050.
In this special report, Disease State Management introduces the recently released Alzheimer’s care guidelines developed by the California Workgroup on Guidelines for Alzheimer’s Disease Management, sponsored in part by the Alzheimer’s Association of Los Angeles, for use in the primary care setting. You will also find information on training your staff to work with Alzheimer’s patients and their families, the 10 warning signs of early Alzheimer’s, and a case study of an Alzheimer’s management program developed by a large managed care organization.