Report: Alzheimer's patients left out in diagnosis

Mar 26, 2015

A new report reveals that only 45 percent of Alzheimer's patients are told of their diagnosis by their doctors.

The information emerged from The Alzheimer's Association 2015 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures report. The statistics were gleaned from Medicare files and ensuing calls to patients and their caregivers, according to Leilani Pelletier, executive director of the Western New York Chapter of  the Alzheimer's Association.

The level of doctor/patient communication pales in comparison to other diagnoses. "For for the foremost common cancers, the reporting rate is 90 percent," Pelletier said.

Why is it so different for Alzheimer's patients?

"Number one, many physicians report that they don't have the resources to deal with what the family is going to need," Pelletier said.

"Another reason is that they don't actually know it's Alzheimer's."

In either case, Pelletier says her agency can help by providing the appropriate information.

With an aging population, an increase in the number of Alzheimer's cases in the United States will rise from the estimated 5.3 million who currently suffer from the disease.

"If people don't know they have the disease they can't take part in research and we can't cure it," Pelletier said.