American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry Releases Principles of Care for Patients with Dementia Due to Alzheimer's Disease

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Care model aims to improve quality of life for Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers

BETHESDA, MD — July 5, 2006 — The American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry (AAGP) released today its position statement on principles of care for patients with dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease (AD). With more than 4.5 million Americans suffering from AD, the most common form of dementia, and with this number expected to triple in the next 40-50 years, AAGP saw a critical need to provide a minimal set of care principles for medical professionals to follow when treating patients with AD.

“We are clearly in a period where we should all be thinking of Alzheimer’s as a condition we can treat, even though we do not have a cure yet,” said Constantine Lyketsos, M.D., M.H.S., professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and chair of the AAGP task force that prepared the position statement.

AAGP recognized that existing scientific evidence, coupled with clinical experience and common sense, provided sufficient information to create the principles of care. The care model consists of a series of therapeutic interventions that are pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic and aims to:

· delay disease progression
· delay functional decline
· improve quality of life
· support dignity
· control symptoms
· provide comfort at all stages of AD

The model provides physicians and clinicians guidance about the key elements of these care principles and why this care should be made available to AD patients and their caregivers. The position statement encompasses clinical care for AD patients in typical clinical settings such as primary care, specialist care, and long-term care, including assisted living environments.
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