Aging Research Summer 2015

Alzheimer’s in North Carolina: NYU and San Diego County

Students in the Master of Public Policy program at Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy spent part of their spring semester examining a policy issue for the N.C. Center for Public Policy Research.

The students investigated Alzheimer’s disease in North Carolina, looking at the rates of the disease, caregiving options for patients, and also looked to other states to learn about different options for comprehensive plans.

The students’ report, which includes recommendations for action in our state, is presented in this series of blog posts. Today’s post takes a brief look at initiatives at New York University and San Diego County, California. Read previous posts in the series here:

Part One provides an introduction to Alzheimer’s disease and an overview of prevalence rates

Part Two discusses caregiving options

Part Three takes a look at programs and services supporting Alzheimer’s patients in N.C.

Part Four outlines how coverage for Alzheimer’s care continues to change, and touches on mental health reform in the state

Part Five takes a specific look at Alzheimer’s mortality rates in North Carolina counties

Part Six has a brief overview of the N.C. Task Force on Alzheimer’s

Part Seven compares state plans in Georgia and Minnesota

Note: The pictures used in this series are from the Alzheimer’s North Carolina organization, a nonprofit  dedicated to education, support, and advocacy for Alzheimer’s patients and their families. Visit their website here: http://www.alznc.org/.

Pictures also featured from The A.R.C. Community, long-term care facilities in North Carolina for residents with Alzheimer’s. www.thearccommunity.com


New York University Caregiver Intervention, on behalf of Minnesota

          The New York University Caregiver Intervention (NYUCI) was an experiment conducted by NYU to identify best practices for Alzheimer’s caregivers. A controlled trial was conducted using 406 spouses and adult caregivers of people living with dementia in the New York area. Those who received enhanced caregiver support successfully delayed residential care placement by an average of 557 days (Long et al., 2015).

          This enhanced caregiver support consisted of six individual and family counseling sessions over four months, the option to participate in a weekly support group, and telephone counseling on an as-needed basis. Minnesota’s ACT on Alzheimer’s commissioned NYU to simulate the economic model in Minnesota, to estimate whether the state would achieve the same cost savings as New York.

          Accounting for the number of people with Alzheimer’s in Minnesota, and the projected increase over the next fifteen years, the study concluded NYUCI would result in $289 million in cost savings after five years and $996 million after fifteen years (Foldes and Long, 2014).

 

Alzheimer’s Efforts at the Local Level: San Diego County

In 2014, San Diego County reached an epidemic level of Alzheimer’s. Over 60,000 San Diegans were diagnosed, and local emergency rooms were experiencing extraordinary costs. As a result, San Diego County, led by Chairwoman Dianne Jacob of the county Board of Supervisors, decided to develop “The Alzheimer’s Project” in order to help those suffering from the disease. This initiative aims to find a cure for Alzheimer’s by bringing together local neuroscientists, health care experts, and politicians to develop an effective treatment in conjunction with state and national research institutions. In the interim, the initiative seeks to raise public awareness of the disease, boost research funding, and increase public involvement in clinical trials. While San Diego County is a resource-rich area, and a rare example of a local government taking steps to combat Alzheimer’s, it is nonetheless an important example of what is possible on the local level.

The Alzheimer’s Project centers on six specific goals:
     1. Improving the services that the county provides for Alzheimer’s patients.
     2. Improving disease management and medical care of the patients. San Diego County intends on meeting this specific goal through “round tables” comprised of prominent researchers, physician-scientists, and biotech representatives in the county.
     3. Increasing funding and partnerships for research to find a cure.
     4. Developing a successful public awareness campaign.
     5. Providing resources to caregivers.
     6. Increasing funding for the region by identifying and pursuing opportunities for additional resources.

While these proposals are now only in the beginning stages, they are meant to serve as a “launching pad” for an effort that will take place over the coming years.

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Note: Here is information about this student project, provided by the Duke Sanford School of Public Policy.

This student presentation was prepared during the spring of 2015 in partial completion of the requirements for PUBPOL 804, a course in the Master of Public Policy Program at the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. The research, analysis, policy alternatives, and recommendations contained in this report are the work of the student team that authored the report, and do not represent the official or unofficial views of the Sanford School of Public Policy or of Duke University. Without the specific permission of its authors, this report may not be used or cited for any purpose other than to inform the client organization about the subject matter. The authors relied in many instances on data provided to them by the client and related organizations and make no independent representations as to the accuracy of the data.

 

 

 

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  1. Works Cited for Full Project

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