Blog Post

The states where the Alzheimer's population is surging

March 25, 2015

    Juliette Mullin, Senior Editor

    Currently, about 5.3 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease. But the latest data from the Alzheimer's Association finds that, every 67 seconds, someone in the United States develops the condition.

    By 2025, experts predict that more than seven million Americans will have Alzheimer's. And by 2050, that number is expected to reach 13.8 million—barring medical breakthroughs to prevent or cure the disease.

    Alzheimer's may be the third-leading cause of death

    The number of individuals with Alzheimer's is expected to increase faster in some parts of the country than in others. The five states expected to see the fastest increase from 2015 to 2025 are:

      1. Alaska (71.9% increase)
      2. Arizona (66.7%)
      3. Nevada (64.1%)
      4. South Carolina (48.1%)
      5. Wyoming (47.7%)

    Meanwhile, the five states expected to see the slowest increase in their Alzheimer's population from 2015 to 2025 are:

      1. District of Columbia (1.1% decrease)
      2. North Dakota (14.3% increase)
      3. Missouri (18.2% increase)
      3. Wisconsin (18.2% increase)
      5. Pennsylvania (18.5% increase)

    But regardless of the state in which they live, providers should be preparing for a major increase in demand for dementia services. "Both acute and post-acute care settings come into play here—and they have to work together," Advisory Board researchers Jared Landis and Harrison Brown wrote in a blog post.

    Some things get better with age—make sure your dementia services do, too

    Landis and Brown have identified five key strategies for improving care management for dementia patients:

    • Provide comprehensive education to staff and families;
    • Track patient outcomes across providers;
    • Facilitate two-way information sharing;
    • Maximize staff consistency and experience; and
    • Structure patient-specific environments.

    Here how we can help…

    For more information about how the aging population will affect hospitals and how hospital planners can improve geriatric services, check out some of our other research. 

    Geriatric Services Strategy

    By 2030, one in five Americans will be 65 years of age or older, representing a dramatic shift of patient mix toward high acuity, multi-morbid Medicare patients. To improve care and finances for treating this burgeoning population, hospitals may develop geriatric-specific programs. This webconference outlines key considerations for developing services specific to this growing and complex population.

    Designing Geriatric Emergency Departments

    Prompted by the aging Baby Boomers, providers have begun to reconsider how they provide emergency care to seniors. This report surveys the efforts of four hospitals and health systems to meet this challenge by setting up specialized geriatric emergency departments.

    What is an outpatient geriatric assessment center?

    Every day, 11,000 seniors become eligible for Medicare. How can health systems prepare to support this growing population’s future needs? To help seniors manage functional decline and proactively plan for future care, some organizations have implemented outpatient geriatric assessment centers, which offer comprehensive, multidisciplinary evaluations and treatment plans for complex, elderly patients. 

    Strategies to Improve the Continuum of Care for Geriatric Patients

    Administrators of geriatric care coordination and discharge planning programs report that constant and complete communication among providers is crucial to the success of their departments. Medication reconciliation presents significant challenges at some institutions, while others have adopted pathways and technology to facilitate the transmission of information across care locations. 

    Furthermore, program managers note the importance of communication within the hospital to ensure that geriatrics services receive the support of top-level administrators at the institution.

    Managing Dementia Patients Across the Care Continuum

    As health care providers respond to federal incentives to develop care continuum models, no care alignment strategy between hospitals and post-acute care providers is complete without considering the dementia patient population.

    Dementia patients pose significant challenges for providers—from treatment refusal to physically threatening behavior— and these challenges contribute to the higher admission rates and longer lengths of stay.

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