New Law to Address Alzheimer’s Treatment

BOSTON – A new Massachusetts law seeks to make improvements in the diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

The measure was approved by the Democratic-controlled Legislature and signed last week by Republican Governor Charlie Baker, who noted the impact Alzheimer’s has on people, whether they have the disease or are caring for someone with it.

“Raising awareness about Alzheimer’s and dementia is key to supporting the Massachusetts families who are impacted by this horrible disease,” said Baker.

“This legislation will enhance efforts to train front line caregivers on recognizing and treating dementia more effectively, and work with families of loved ones to prepare and manage the effects of Alzheimer’s.”

The law requires doctors, physician’s assistants and nurses to receive training on the diagnosis, treatment and care for people with Alzheimer’s.

It also requires that doctors report an initial diagnosis of the disease to a family member of the patient, and provide the family with information and treatment options, which Pamela Schwabe of the Alzheimer’s Association of Cape Cod says is a key component.

“When someone is first diagnosed oftentimes it’s kept to themselves and so they don’t want to share with my care giver,” she explained.

“And so with this particular law it’ll ensure proper family notification and obviously consistent with federal and state privacy guidelines.”

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