EVOLVING ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE CARE

As the population ages, the risk of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is elevated and the need for new approaches to management increases.1

 

 

AD is a burden for patients, caregivers, and the healthcare system1

An estimated 5.8 million Americans over the age of 65 are living with dementia due to AD. That number is projected to reach 13.8 million by 2050.1

Alzheimer’s Disease Prevalence and Economic Data by State1

Alabama iconAlabama

Projected Number of Patients:

In 2020
96,000

In 2025
110,000

Survey from 2019

306,000

Caregivers*

$4.58 billion

Value of Unpaid Care*

*State totals may not add to the US total due to rounding.

In 2020, direct costs for Alzheimer's disease and other dementias are estimated at $305 billion1

On a yearly basis, the costs for Medicare/Medicaid beneficiaries with AD dementia or other dementias for healthcare services like hospitals, nursing homes, hospice, and home healthcare are significantly greater than for people without dementia.

If left unaddressed, total annual payments for healthcare, long-term care, and hospice care for people with AD and other dementias are projected to increase to more than $1.1 trillion in 2050.

Increased prevalence will place greater demands on healthcare providers1

Recent analysis suggests that the US has approximately half the number of geriatricians needed and that only a small percentage of nurse practitioners, social workers, and other professionals are skilled in working with older adults.

According to one estimate, the US is projected to need three times the current number of geriatricians by 2050.¹

An Alzheimer's Association survey revealed that primary care physicians (PCPs) feel under-equipped to manage the increasing AD population1:

  • 39% of PCPs are uncomfortable making an Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis
  • 55% of PCPs are concerned that there are not enough specialists to meet demand today
  • 22% of PCPs had no dementia training during their residency

Current treatments for AD are indicated for patients with AD dementia and are not approved for MCI due to AD. Presently, investigational therapies targeting amyloid beta and tau are being studied for AD.2

Biomarkers can play an important role

AD biomarkers such as amyloid beta and tau may not only be essential for patient diagnosis and selection for potential new treatments, they could also be critical for gauging the effects of treatment.3

Of the ongoing clinical trials of investigational agents targeting the underlying pathophysiology of AD, 52 use amyloid imaging and/or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) to support the diagnosis, 20 determine the outcome via amyloid imaging, and 10 via tau imaging as of 2019.3

Is the healthcare system prepared for a changing AD treatment landscape?

Based on assumptions from a simulated model published in 2017, if additional treatments become available in the future, it is anticipated that there may be some health infrastructure challenges that would need to be addressed.4

GROWING PATIENT VOLUME

If a therapy were approved for mild cognitive impairment (MCI) due to AD, then potentially millions of patients might become eligible for treatment, requiring comprehensive clinical assessment. Healthcare systems can prepare for this by establishing assessment protocols.1-4

SHORTAGE OF SPECIALISTS

Specialist shortage and long wait times could be a challenge for patients receiving treatment. Physician education and training can be tailored to help meet these needs.1,4,5

ACCESS TO DIAGNOSTIC TOOLS

Access to biomarker testing, such as positron emission tomography (PET) imaging and CSF tests, could become a limiting factor. Equipping facilities in advance and drafting plans for increased capacity may help prepare healthcare providers to meet the demand. Expanded testing of amyloid beta and tau in CSF administered via lumbar puncture may also help speed the diagnostic process.4,5

Preparing the healthcare infrastructure for potential changes in patient population is an important next step.

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