CURRAN LAUNCHES POLICY STUDY OF ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE CARE
Baltimore - Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr., today announced a major study of the legal and policy issues related to Alzheimer’s disease. Curran’s project, believed to be the first of its kind by an Attorney General’s office, will survey a wide range of issues affecting the care of patients with dementia.
"Alzheimer’s disease presents one of the biggest health issues facing our society," Curran said. "State policymakers have a responsibility to consider, in a proactive way, how our laws and policies affect patients, their families, and their professional caregivers." According to Curran, "This project fits in with the top priority we have always given to protecting the elderly against financial exploitation, prosecuting care providers who abuse the elderly, and promoting quality care at the end of life."
More than four million Americans and 83 thousand Marylanders have Alzheimer’s disease or other progressive types of dementia. Unless a cure is found, these numbers can be expected to increase sharply over the next two decades. Half of all nursing home residents suffer from the disease. The disease imposes costs of at least $100 billion a year in the U.S.
Curran said that some of the issues to be considered in his study include:
Stephen R. McConnell, Vice-President for Public Policy and Program Services for the Alzheimer’s Association, a national volunteer organization with more than 160 chapters and 45,000 volunteers, commended Curran’s initiative: "Attorney General Curran’s commitment to this report marks a major breakthrough in addressing the legal and ethical challenges faced by families dealing with Alzheimer’s disease. We hope it becomes a model that other states will follow."
The report, with an analysis of issues and recommendations for specific future actions by State policymakers, is expected to be finished by late fall of this year. "What we ultimately recommend will be determined by what we learn in preparing the report," Curran said. "What we know already is that a range of serious legal and policy issues are of great consequence for those who have the disease, those who care for them, and those who manage State programs that affect patients and care givers. We need to work together to create the best possible system of care."