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Alzheimer's | Improving Diagnosis & Safeguarding Seniors

Alzheimer's Improving Diagnosis.jpgAlzheimer's disease affects Californians on an ever greater scale, and Baby Boomers are now at risk. According to the Alzheimer's Assocation, one in eight will develop Alzheimer's disease, while one in six will develop dementia. Stunningly, only half of Alzheimer's cases in America are diagnosed. That means half of all seniors suffering from Alzheimer's aren't getting the care and protection they deserve. Non-diagnosis multiplies the dangers a patient faces, from lack of proper medical treatment to vulnerability to elder financial abuse.

The scope of the challenge posed by Alzheimer's to California communities is tremendous, but it's not insurmountable. Other states are taking legislative action to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment of the disease. Massachusetts in particular is leading the way with a new law focused on helping medical staff identify Alzheimer's and follow up with effective care. Signed into law last week by Governor Charlie Baker, the legislation means that:

  • Doctors, physician assistants and nurses will take mandatory courses on "diagnosis, treatment, and care of patients with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia" as part of their licensing.
  • A doctor who has made an Alzheimer's diagnosis must inform the patient's family or a legal representative.
  • All hospitals in the state will implement a plan for "recognizing and managing patients with dementia" by October of 2021.

Massachusetts is setting a positive example in its new efforts to improve the lives of Alzheimer's patients and mitigate risks associated with the disease. Not only will such measures save money in long-term medical costs, but they can also help eliminate unnecessary suffering, confusion, and heartbreak. Californians should also push to ensure the safety of their loved ones with Alzheimer's, and we should tell our state legislature: let's get to work.

Hackard Law represents beneficiaries in significant estate, trust, and elder financial abuse litigation cases, many of which involve Alzheimer's disease. We work throughout California, including in Los Angeles, Sacramento, Alameda, Santa Clara, and San Diego. If you'd like to talk to us about your story, call us at 916-313-3030. We'll be glad to see how we can help you.

Alzheimer's | Improving Diagnosis & Safeguarding Seniors from Hackard Law on Vimeo.

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