In many chronic and debilitating health complications, the progression of disease is often outlined in a clear and effective way so as to establish treatment plans and goals. To determine how a disease may be established in progression, most physicians will utilize some form of industry standard staging for disease complications. In Alzheimer’s patients, the Alzheimer’s disease chart has proven to be quite effective at giving patient, and family, a more clear understanding of their disease and how it will be treated over the long term.
The progression disease chart, in any chronic disease, is a crucial part of getting approval from insurance companies for specific treatments, monitoring the progress of a patient in therapy, and also allowing families to understand the path the medical care may be on for an Alzheimer’s patient. If your loved one’s doctor has not provided this disease chart, be sure to ask about it so you can obtain clear documented info and know what goals and treatment plans are in place.
For the Alzheimer’s caretaker, the Alzheimer’s disease chart can also provide a foundation on which to seek out support services for you, as the caregiver. The disease progression chart will let you know the progress and what stage your loved on is at and, as a result, you can find Alzheimer’s disease support groups. Within the support groups, family members are often divided into smaller groups based upon the disease progression of the patient in discussion. This is why the Alzheimer’s disease chart will be so crucial to your supportive care as well as the care of your loved one.
Should the treating physician be unable to provide the Alzheimer’s disease chart information to you, there are geriatric specialists who may be able to provide some support on an independent basis. Asking that medical records be copied and released to these geriatric specialists will ensure that your loved one’s progression is clearly identified on the chart and you have accurate information. Every three month, without regard to who updates the chart, the progression should be updated so all parties are clearly involved and know what the path of care will be.
Understanding medical treatment from a long term perspective is vital to not only the health of an Alzheimer’s patient but also to the health and stability of the family. If you have a loved one who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, be sure you ask the treating physician about Alzheimer’s disease charts and how your loved one’s disease will be staged and goals will be established. In doing so, you will have greater control over the complications to come.
Sources: Learning to Speak Alzheimer’s, by Joanne Coste