The Alzheimer’s Association is out with its annual report that puts the disease and its numbers under the microscope, including a shortage of healthcare providers. More than 110,000 Hoosiers are living with Alzheimer’s and according to new data, the prevalence of the disease grows each year. The report shows there are only 66 geriatricians in the state and the nonprofit says Indiana will need a 300% increase to close the gap in these specialists.
In an interview with Business of Health reporter Kylie Veleta, Alzheimer’s Association Greater Indiana Chapter Communications Director Laura Forbes said specialized physicians is not the only staffing shortage.
“One other area is with home health aides. We’re going to need a more than 37% increase by the year 2028. So not very far away,” said Forbes, who adds more Americans are choosing home health aides to help with their care when they have dementia.
Governor Eric Holcomb just signed a bill, Senate Enrolled Act 353, that sets minimum dementia training standards for home health aides. The Alzheimer’s Association Greater Indiana Chapter applauded the passage saying the law will help with patient care.
“We’re really hopeful that this will help improve care for those patients first and foremost. But also, we know that having that dementia training really helps to reduce burnout in those industries. It’s really a win win,” said Forbes.
The national report shows the shortage of physicians specializing in the treatment of older patients is especially apparent in rural parts of the state. Forbes says the Alzheimer’s Association is pushing for public policy challenges to address issues, such as trained worker shortages.
“In the absence of some of these specialists, we can help ensure that primary care physicians are prepared to discuss the signs and symptoms with their patients, perform cognitive tests and make those diagnoses as well,” said Forbes. “It’s a multi-pronged approach.”
Click here to view the Alzheimer’s Association 2022 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report.