Obama Administration Releases New National Plan to Fight Alzheimer's

Alzheimer's Disease (AD) Brain (image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons)On May 15, 2012, U.S. Secretary of Health & Human Services Kathleen Sebelius released the final version of the first comprehensive National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease, which has been under development pursuant to the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA) that President Obama signed into law in January 2011.

The National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease, which is the first nation-wide strategic plan to fight Alzheimer’s Disease in the U.S., was presented yesterday at the Alzheimer’s Research Summit 2012: Path to Treatment and Prevention, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.

“As many as 5.1 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease and that number is likely to double in the coming years. At the same time, millions of American families struggle with the physical, emotional and financial costs of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease,” the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) said in a news release issued yesterday.

According to statistics released earlier by the Alzheimer’s Association, nearly 15 million Americans are now caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease or another form of dementia, and every 69 seconds someone in the U.S. now develops Alzheimer’s, which is the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S., and the only one among the top 10 causes of death that cannot yet be prevented, cured or even slowed.

The New National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease

The National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease (PDF – 69 pages), sets forth five goals for the national fight against Alzheimer’s Disease, along with strategies to achieve each goal:

  • “Goal 1: Prevent and Effectively Treat Alzheimer’s Disease by 2025
    • Strategy 1.A: Identify Research Priorities and Milestones
    • Strategy 1.B: Expand Research Aimed at Preventing and Treating Alzheimer’s Disease
    • Strategy 1.C: Accelerate Efforts to Identify Early and Presymptomatic Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease
    • Strategy 1.D: Coordinate Research with International Public and Private Entities
    • Strategy 1.E: Facilitate Translation of Findings into Medical Practice and Public Health Programs

  • Goal 2: Enhance Care Quality and Efficiency
    • Strategy 2.A: Build a Workforce with the Skills to Provide High-Quality Care
    • Strategy 2.B: Ensure Timely and Accurate Diagnosis
    • Strategy 2.C: Educate and Support People with AD and Their Families upon Diagnosis
    • Strategy 2.D: Identify High-Quality Dementia Care Guidelines and Measures Across Care Settings
    • Strategy 2.E: Explore the Effectiveness of New Models of Care for People with AD
    • Strategy 2.F: Ensure that People with AD Experience Safe and Effective Transitions between Care Settings and Systems
    • Strategy 2.G: Advance Coordinated and Integrated Health and Long-Term Services and Supports for Individuals Living with AD
    • Strategy 2.H: Improve Care for Populations Disproportionally Affected by Alzheimer’s Disease and for Populations Facing Care Challenges

  • Goal 3: Expand Supports for People with Alzheimer’s Disease and Their Families
    • Strategy 3.A: Ensure Receipt of Culturally Sensitive Education, Training, and Support Materials
    • Strategy 3.B: Enable Family Caregivers to Continue to Provide Care while Maintaining Their Own Health and Well-Being
    • Strategy 3.C: Assist Families in Planning for Future Care Needs
    • Strategy 3.D: Maintain the Dignity, Safety and Rights of People with Alzheimer’s Disease
    • Strategy 3.E: Assess and Address the Housing Needs of People with AD

  • Goal 4: Enhance Public Awareness and Engagement
    • Strategy 4.A: Educate the Public about Alzheimer’s Disease
    • Strategy 4.B: Work with State, Tribal, and Local Governments to Improve Coordination and Identify Model Initiatives to Advance Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness and Readiness across the Government
    • Strategy 4.C: Coordinate U.S. Efforts with Those of the Global Community

  • Goal 5: Improve Data to Track Progress
    • Strategy 5.A: Enhance the Federal Government’s Ability to Track Progress
    • Strategy 5.B: Monitor Progress on the National Plan”

The Plan “was developed with input from experts in aging and Alzheimer’s disease issues and calls for a comprehensive, collaborative approach across federal, state, private and non-profit organizations,” according to the HHS news release issued yesterday. “More than 3,600 people or organizations submitted comments on the draft plan,” HHS said.

The Plan is available on a new website, Alzheimers.gov, developed by the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) pursuant to National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA).

Alzheimers.gov is “the government’s free information resource about Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias,” where you can find “links to authoritative, up-to-date information from agencies and organizations with expertise in these areas,” according to an introductory statement found on the site.

Implementation of the National Alzheimer’s Plan

In February 2012, the Administration announced that it would take immediate action to implement parts of the plan, including making additional funding available in fiscal year 2012 to support research, as well as caregiver support, provider education and public awareness. See, Obama Administration Increases Funding for Alzheimer’s Research & Caregiver Support.

In the press release issued yesterday, the HHS Secretary announced additional actions specifically implementing the Plan, including:

  1. The funding of two major clinical trials funded by the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) infusion of additional Fiscal Year 2012 funds directed at Alzheimer’s disease;
  2. The development of new high-quality, up-to-date training and information for clinicians; and
  3. A new public education campaign, including the Alzheimers.gov website to help families and caregivers find the services and support they need.

“To help accelerate this urgent work, the President’s proposed FY 2013 budget provides a $100 million increase for efforts to combat Alzheimer’s disease. These funds will support additional research ($80 million), improve public awareness of the disease ($4.2 million), support provider education programs ($4.0 million), invest in caregiver support ($10.5 million), and improve data collection ($1.3 million),” the HHS press release announced.

In addition, “In 2013, the National Family Caregiver Support Program will continue to provide essential services to family caregivers, including those helping loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease,” HHS announced. “This program will enable family caregivers to receive essential respite services, providing them a short break from caregiving duties, along with other essential services, such as counseling, education and support groups.”

“These actions are the cornerstones of an historic effort to fight Alzheimer’s disease,” Secretary Sebelius said. “This is a national plan—not a federal one, because reducing the burden of Alzheimer’s will require the active engagement of both the public and private sectors.”

For more information, see the HHS press release issued May 15, 2012, which is stated below in its entirety:


News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 15, 2012
Contact: HHS Press Office
(202) 690-6343

Obama administration presents national plan to fight Alzheimer’s disease

HHS Secretary Sebelius outlines research funding, tools for health care providers, awareness campaign and new website

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today released an ambitious national plan to fight Alzheimer’s disease. The plan was called for in the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA), which President Obama signed into law in January 2011. The National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease sets forth five goals, including the development of effective prevention and treatment approaches for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias by 2025.

In February 2012, the administration announced that it would take immediate action to implement parts of the plan, including making additional funding available in fiscal year 2012 to support research, provider education and public awareness. Today, the Secretary announced additional specific actions, including the funding of two major clinical trials, jumpstarted by the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) infusion of additional FY 2012 funds directed at Alzheimer’s disease; the development of new high-quality, up-to-date training and information for our nation’s clinicians; and a new public education campaign and website to help families and caregivers find the services and support they need.

To help accelerate this urgent work, the President’s proposed FY 2013 budget provides a $100 million increase for efforts to combat Alzheimer’s disease. These funds will support additional research ($80 million), improve public awareness of the disease ($4.2 million), support provider education programs ($4.0 million), invest in caregiver support ($10.5 million), and improve data collection ($1.3 million).

“These actions are the cornerstones of an historic effort to fight Alzheimer’s disease,” Secretary Sebelius said. “This is a national plan—not a federal one, because reducing the burden of Alzheimer’s will require the active engagement of both the public and private sectors.”

The plan, presented today at the Alzheimer’s Research Summit 2012: Path to Treatment and Prevention, was developed with input from experts in aging and Alzheimer’s disease issues and calls for a comprehensive, collaborative approach across federal, state, private and non-profit organizations. More than 3,600 people or organizations submitted comments on the draft plan.

As many as 5.1 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease and that number is likely to double in the coming years. At the same time, millions of American families struggle with the physical, emotional and financial costs of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease.

The initiatives announced today include:

  • Research – The funding of new research projects by the NIH will focus on key areas in which emerging technologies and new approaches in clinical testing now allow for a more comprehensive assessment of the disease. This research holds considerable promise for developing new and targeted approaches to prevention and treatment. Specifically, two major clinical trials are being funded. One is a $7.9 million effort to test an insulin nasal spray for treating Alzheimer’s disease. A second study, toward which NIH is contributing $16 million, is the first prevention trial in people at the highest risk for the disease.
  • Tools for Clinicians – The Health Resources and Services Administration has awarded $2 million in funding through its geriatric education centers to provide high-quality training for doctors, nurses, and other health care providers on recognizing the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and how to manage the disease.
  • Easier access to information to support caregivers–HHS’ new website, www.alzheimers.gov, offers resources and support to those facing Alzheimer’s disease and their friends and family. The site is a gateway to reliable, comprehensive information from federal, state, and private organizations on a range of topics. Visitors to the site will find plain language information and tools to identify local resources that can help with the challenges of daily living, emotional needs, and financial issues related to dementia. Video interviews with real family caregivers explain why information is key to successful caregiving, in their own words.
  • Awareness campaign – The first new television advertisement encouraging caregivers to seek information at the new website was debuted. This media campaign will be launched this summer, reaching family members and patients in need of information on Alzheimer’s disease.

Today’s announcement demonstrates the Obama administration’s continued commitment to taking action in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.

In 2013, the National Family Caregiver Support Program will continue to provide essential services to family caregivers, including those helping loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease. This program will enable family caregivers to receive essential respite services, providing them a short break from caregiving duties, along with other essential services, such as counseling, education and support groups.

For more information on the national plan to address Alzheimer’s disease, visit: www.alzheimers.gov.

More Information

See related HelpingYouCare™ reports on:

Obama Administration Increases Funding for Alzheimer’s Research & Caregiver Support

Nearly 15 Million Americans Are Now Caring for Someone With Alzheimer’s Disease – A Number Rapidly Growing

Women Bear Heaviest Burden of Alzheimer’s Worldwide, New Survey Shows

New Guidelines for Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s

Half of Alzheimer’s Cases Attributable to 7 Risk Factors Preventable by Lifestyle Changes, Study Finds

Regular Exercise Slows Mental Decline With Aging, Studies Find; May Make You Cognitively Younger by 5 to 7 Years

For more information on Alzheimer’s and dementia, see the HelpingYouCare™ resource pages on Alzheimer’s/ Dementia, including:

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