New Alzheimer’s Association Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures Report Calls Attention to Low Diagnosis Disclosure Rates
The Alzheimer’s Association has released the 2015 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report, which includes important new data and a special report about whether health care providers disclose an Alzheimer’s diagnosis to patients and their caregivers. The report found a significant difference in the way an Alzheimer’s diagnosis is disclosed to people with the disease and their families as compared to other diseases
Below is a summary of the report’s key findings specific to diagnosis:
- Only 45 percent of people with Alzheimer’s or their caregivers reported being told the diagnosis by their doctor, whereas 90 percent of people with the four most common cancers (breast, colorectal, lung and prostate cancer) reported a diagnosis disclosure. This rate is disturbingly low and is reminiscent of disclosure rates seen for cancer in 1950s and 1960s when the mention of the word “˜cancer’ was taboo.
- There is widespread agreement among healthcare professionals that people should be told of their diagnosis. However, the most common reason healthcare providers give for not disclosing an Alzheimer’s diagnosis is fear of causing emotional distress.
The Alzheimer’s Association believes disclosing an Alzheimer’s diagnosis should be standard practice. We believe that people with Alzheimer’s disease have the right to know the truth about their diagnosis. Disclosure of the diagnosis can be done a sensitive and supportive manner that avoids unnecessary distress, and gives the person with Alzheimer’s the opportunity to play an active role with his or her family in planning for the future.
With 11% of Californians and 9% of Nevadans over the age of 65 living with Alzheimer’s disease and those numbers expected to grow by 17% and 25% respectively, we need real progress in the fight against Alzheimer’s including making an Alzheimer’s diagnosis standard practice.
For more information on the importance of diagnosis disclosure and to view the full report, please visit alz.org/facts.
Helpful information related to this story:
- The 2015 Alzheimer’s Association Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures Report
- Share our Facts and Figures video
- Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia page on website
- Disclosing an Alzheimer’s diagnosis (The Alzheimer’s Association recommends this video to primary care providers as an example of a doctor who honestly and gently informs a patient and her husband of her diagnosis.)