EVOLVING ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE CARE

As the population ages, the risk of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is elevated.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 in the dementia stage of 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 healthcare services—like hospitals, nursing homes, hospice, and home healthcare—are significantly higher for Medicare/Medicaid beneficiaries living in the dementia stage of AD (or with other dementias) than for those living 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

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

Based on assumptions from a simulated model published in 2017, it is anticipated that there may be some health infrastructure challenges that would need to be addressed.2

GROWING PATIENT VOLUME

Evolving AD care could potentially rely on comprehensive clinical assessment of a growing population. 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.1,2,5

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 obtained via lumbar puncture may also help speed the diagnostic process.2,5

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

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