Law helps living with Alzheimer’s

To the editor:

There are 511,000 people caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease in Michigan. As someone who is serving this role, I am proud to support the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA). Recently reintroduced in Congress, and supported by the Alzheimer’s Association, PCHETA (S. 693 /H.R. 1676) would ensure America has an adequate, well-trained palliative care and hospice workforce through workforce training, education and awareness, and enhanced research. These services are critical services for persons in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s. We know that 17 percent of people under hospice care have a primary diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, and that is just primary diagnosis. That percentage does not represent all those living with Alzheimer’s as they live with cancer, heart disease and other life limited ailments.

A number of studies have concluded that hospitalization is not recommended for individuals with advanced dementia given the life expectancy of the individual, the significant burdens of aggressive treatment, and the difficulty of pain management for those who cannot communicate in the hospital setting. PCHETA will help ensure that the 5.4 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s have access to quality care and end of life services, making a devastating diagnosis slightly more manageable for them and their families. Please join me in asking Congressman Jack Bergman to support PCHETA and the 180,000 Michiganders living with Alzheimer’s.

Lindsay Juricek