To Treat Alzheimer's Patients, Massachusetts Now Requires More Doctor and Nurse Training
By Shira Schoenberg
Gov. Charlie Baker has signed a law to improve the way doctors diagnose and care for Alzheimer's patients.
According to advocates for the bill, less than half of patients who have Alzheimer's are properly diagnosed today, and of those, fewer than half are properly informed of their diagnosis.
Sen. Barbara L'Italien, D-Andover, one of the sponsors of the bill, said her mother suffered with Alzheimer's at the end of her life.
"Navigating her diagnosis and care taught me just how difficult it can be even for the most informed families," L'Italien said.
The bill would require all doctors, physician's assistants and nurses who serve adults to complete a one-time training on the diagnosis, treatment and care of people with Alzheimer's as part of their continuing medical education. Protective service caseworkers who work with elders would also be trained on how to recognize Alzheimer's.
Hospitals would be required to develop a plan for recognizing and treating patients with Alzheimer's.