Alzheimer’s disease has a significant impact on the more than 5 million Americans living with the disease and their 16 million caregivers across the country. Currently, 5.5 million Americans aged 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s and that number is expected to rise to 7.1 million in 2025 as the population continues to age.1 “2017 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures.” Alzheimer’s Association. 2017. https://www.alz.org To ensure access to care for these individuals, the CVS Health Foundation has partnered with the Alzheimer’s Association to support the Diagnose, Disclose, and Direct Connect program.
Since entering the partnership in 2016, the CVS Health Foundation has committed $1.1 million to six local chapters of the Alzheimer’s Association to expand efforts to educate providers on Alzheimer’s, deliver resources to individuals and families, and develop best practices for Alzheimer’s care delivery.
Since launching the Diagnose, Disclose, and Direct Connect program, the Alzheimer’s Association has educated more than 7,000 health care professionals, virtually and in-person. Local chapters are hosting continuing medical education (CME) events, developing video and online CME material, building email lists, and conducting in-person outreach.
Delivering Resources to Patients
The Alzheimer’s Association provides people living with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers access to a variety of supportive and educational resources. These are primarily to help educate families about the disease and its management, as well as to jumpstart a discussion about long-term planning and advanced directives before further progression of Alzheimer’s.
To expand access to these resources, the Alzheimer’s Association has established a direct referral program with providers and health care systems. Local chapters of the Alzheimer’s Association have continued working in their local communities to implement the direct referral program at additional provider locations.
Developing Best Practices
At the local chapter level, Alzheimer’s Association employees and volunteers have explored a wide range of strategies to connect people with the disease and providers. As the Alzheimer’s Association implements and revises processes and procedures, lessons learned from ongoing efforts will be applied to maximize reach.
A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is a life-changing event. However, by ensuring providers receive up-to-date information on Alzheimer’s and giving patients tools to make informed decisions, diagnosed individuals and their caregivers can be well positioned to live their best possible lives with the disease.