Medical personnel need special training to assist Alzheimer’s patients

To the editor:

I was one of the thousands of Indiana family members who have cared or are caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease. I am proud to support the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA) H.R. 1676.

My husband died four years ago after a 15-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease, and palliative and hospice care were a very important part of that care.

Not all medical personnel have received training in this kind of care. Recently reintroduced in Congress and supported by the Alzheimer’s Association, PCHETA would ensure America has an adequate, well-trained palliative care workforce through workforce training, education and awareness and enhanced research.

Palliative care and hospice are critical services for persons in the advanced stages of this terminal disease. In fact, a number of studies have concluded that hospitalization is not recommended for individuals with advanced dementia given the life expectancy of the individual, the significant burdens of aggressive treatment and the difficulty of pain management for those who cannot communicate in the hospital setting.

PCHETA will help ensure that the millions of Americans living with Alzheimer’s have access to quality care and end-of-life services, making a devastating diagnosis slightly more manageable.

Rep. Luke Messer has expressed an interest in PCHETA but is not yet a sponsor. Please join me in asking Rep. Messer to support PCHETA.

Diana Dijak