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Individual Project

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Submitted By 2myrt22
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The Healthcare Organization
Colorado Technical University
HCM367-1304A-01
Phase 3 - Individual Project

Lately, there has been an increase in patients being diagnosed with chronic debilitating diseases here at the healthcare facility, and I believe that Senior Management, Departments Heads, Supervisors, and Stakeholders should come together and discuss a few topics concerning chronic diseases and the aging population. The crisis is clear. Chronic diseases are having a major impact on healthcare. Chronic conditions, unlike acute diseases, cannot be cured and can last for years, limit activitis, and require continuing medical attention. In the United States, chronic illnesses impact millions of people and are the leading cause of sickness, disability, and death. As more and more people age and develop chronic illnesses the number of doctors and nurses needed will go up. Therefore, the availability of well-trained doctors and nurses is imperative in order to provide the best possible care. By communicating and collaborating with doctors, nurses, and the community to treat patients and their illnesses we can possibly cut costs, make programs for patients more readily available, and help the patient improve their overall health. In preparation for this meeting I researched Alzheimer’s disease which is a major issue affecting the aging population. Alzheimer's disease, first described by the German neurologist Alois Alzheimer, is a physical disease that affects the brain. No one knows what causes it. However, some scientists believe that it may be a combination of several genetic and environmental elements that starts nerve cells in the brain to deteriorate. It is a progressive disease, that over time, parts of the brain will become damaged. When this starts to occur, the signs become more severe. Some of the signs of this disease are;
- Those in the first stages of the disease may have gaps in their memory and have problems putting the right words together. As the disease advances, the person may become mixed up and often forget the names of loved ones, places, etc.
- Have feeling of sadness or anger, become scared and frustrated easily due to the memory loss.
- Have difficulty with everyday activities like using the TV remote.
As the disease advances, the patient will need more help from those who care for them. Eventually, needing help with all their daily activities. Even though these are some of the symptoms, one must remember that everyone is unique and each person may have different experiences. Until recently, many facilities did not have to meet any specific standards, beyond the nursing home regulations and standards to which all nursing homes are held. Nor did they offer, the level of care needed for patients with Alzheimer’s, making it impossible for families to find a place that could actually care for their loved ones. However, in recent years the number of nursing homes that have established Special Care Units created to serve people with Alzheimer's disease has multiplied. There are now more units such a this and they growing within nursing home business. The roles of doctors and nurses has also changed due this disease. Years ago, you only had one doctor treating you for everything however with the advancement in science, technology, and education things have changed. For example, consultants are doctors who have extensive training/experience in a certain field. The specialty of the consultant will depend on various factors such as: age and warning signs of the person being treated. They work closely with other professionals, including nurses, psychologists, social workers and occupational therapists, as part of a team to treat patients. However, the consultant is responsible for the patient's care. Nurses also work with people with dementia in several ways such as;
Community mental health nurses, also known as community psychiatric nurses (CPNs), are mental health nurses who work in the community inside the homes of patients. These types of nurses offer treatment, care and support for people with mental health issues and dementia. They evaluate patients at home and can counsel people with dementia and their caregivers on how to cope, and how to improve their well-being and quality of life. The fastest growing community or population in the U.S., are people over the age of 65, and this group of people have the greatest risk of developing this illness. Even though there has been some progress made, the treatments available for this disease are restricted and there is no cure. The disease poses a growing challenge to the quality of life for those diagnosed with the disease, their loved ones, and the healthcare system. For example, the memory loss associated with dementia and other symptoms leave patients unable to care for themselves or live independently. Depending on the situation loved ones may have to become the caregiver. When the disease advances, the family faces difficult choices concerning long-term care. The financial burden of live-in nurses or finding a facility that can care for loved ones. The disease has also had other affects on healthcare system such as;
- The direct costs of caring for those with Alzheimer's to American society will total an estimated $203 billion, including $142 billion in costs to Medicare and Medicaid. Total payments for health care, long-term care and hospice for people with Alzheimer's and other dementias are projected to increase from $203 billion in 2013 to $1.2 trillion in 2050 (in current dollars). This dramatic rise includes a 500% increase in combined Medicare and Medicaid spending.
- The costs of Alzheimer’s disease tops $148 billion a year.
- State and federal Medicare spending for nursing home care is anticipated to reach $32 billion by 2025.
- New cases of the disease are expected to triple or quadruple over the next 30 to 40 years. Even though there is no cure, there are medications available to help reduce the symptons of memory loss, and confusion for a limited amount of time such as; cholinesterase inhibitors (Aricept, Exelon, Razadyne, Cognex) and memantine (Namenda) — to treat the cognitive symptoms (memory loss, confusion, and problems with thinking and reasoning) of Alzheimer's disease. Doctors also recommend physical activity for patients as long as possible.
Exercise offers several benefits like better strength, endurance, and cardiovascular fitness. Exercise also helps preserve motor skills and improve balance, which in turn prevents injuries from falling. It can also increase energy, help with normal routines, and help the patient’s mood. I believe with the continued advancements in science, technology, and medicine one day a cure will be found for this disease and many more.

References;

Enrique Rivero (2013) Nurse Practitioners Can Help Boost Quality of Care For Older Patients With Chronic Conditions Retrieved October 28, 2013 from http://newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla/nurse-practitioners-can-significantly-246956.aspx

2013 (nn)What is Alzheimer's Disease Retrieved October 28, 2103 from http://www.alzheimer.ca/en/About-dementia/Alzheimer-s-disease/What-is-Alzheimer-s-disease

2013 (nd) Alzheimer's Facts and Figures Retrieved October 28, 2013 from http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_facts_and_figures.asp
http://www.forahealthieramerica.com/ds/toll-of-alzheimers-disease.html

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