Eli Lilly and Company and Alzheimer's Disease International (ADI) have announced the availability of educational resources intended to help improve communication between patients, caregivers and their physicians to ensure physicians have information to accurately diagnose the cause of the patient's cognitive impairment - whether that be Alzheimer's disease, another form of dementia, or some other cause. The availability of resources occurs as two meetings take place in the United Kingdom (UK) to address related aspects of Alzheimer's disease, specifically the need for care innovation and the future financial burden of the disease. The meetings are a result of the G8 Dementia Summit held in December 2013.
In 2012, Adelphi Research conducted The International Alzheimer's Disease Physician Survey, on behalf of Lilly, revealing physician-perceived barriers that impact their ability to make formal Alzheimer's disease diagnoses, citing lack of communication between patients and caregivers and physicians as one of the most common challenges. In fact, 40 percent of respondents reported that patients and caregivers did not provide enough information to help them make a formal diagnosis. Furthermore, the survey confirmed when diagnoses are made, physicians believe they are often made too late in the progression of the illness for physicians to intervene in a meaningful way.
"Obtaining an accurate and timely diagnosis for the cause of a patient's cognitive impairment allows patients and families more time to seek advice and support, as well as plan for the future together," said Marc Wortmann, executive director, ADI. "The survey findings emphasized the need to better support patients and family members through the often difficult process of seeking a diagnosis by helping them communicate more effectively with physicians."
The following resources, which can be found on the ADI website, help patients and caregivers better identify key cognitive symptoms that could point to a more serious issue, effectively communicate information and concerns to physicians, as well as plan for the future in the event of an Alzheimer's disease diagnosis:
- Patient/Caregiver Questionnaire: Understanding the Signs & Symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease: If a person is unsure whether they or a loved one may be experiencing the signs or symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, this questionnaire may help to inform the decision on if and when it's time to make an appointment with a doctor.
- Patient/Caregiver Journal: Communicating with Your Doctor about Alzheimer's Disease: The journal can be used to track daily behaviors, indicators of memory loss, medication use and other important information to help prepare a patient or caregiver for a conversation with their doctor. Recording information on daily routines and bringing it to a doctor's visit will allow the doctor to assess behavioral patterns and identify potential symptoms, which can be difficult to describe during the visit.
- Patient/Caregiver Guide: Preparing for the Future during the Progression of Alzheimer's Disease: Alzheimer's disease can be a challenging journey, not only for the person diagnosed, but also for family members and loved ones. If a person or their loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease by a medical professional, they can take the first step in preparing for the future by reading through this guide, which includes key information on planning for the road ahead.