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2007 Grant - Sachs
Alzheimer's Disease and Access to Palliative Care
Greg A. Sachs, M.D.
2007 Investigator-Initiated Research Grant
Alzheimer's disease is a progressive, irreversible and ultimately fatal condition, not simply a memory disorder. While most experts in the field understand this, many health care providers, organizations and much of the public do not. This has meant that people with Alzheimer's do not receive hospice and palliate care at the same rate as people with other fatal diseases. For example, in 2005 nearly half of all hospice patients in the country had cancer but less than 10 percent had dementia.
Dr. Greg A. Sachs, M.D., and his team will conduct a nationwide survey of palliative care programs to assess why this is and what can be done to change it. There has been a growth in palliative care in the past decade that serves people with terminal illnesses who are not imminently dying. Such care could provide important help for those with Alzheimer's. Yet little is known about palliative care models for people with dementia.
The researchers will survey programs across the country, conducting in-depth interviews with 200 of them, to learn how many are serving people with Alzheimer's, what the persistent barriers are in reaching them and which programs are successfully providing care to them. The overall goal is to show which programs work best in order to bring them to national attention and help adopt them as best practice standards.