In the recent past, the number of registered cases of Alzheimer’s disease has rapidly increased. Reports claim that almost 5.2 million people living in America have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease (Washington Post, 2015). There are no accurate established causes of this disease, but it can affect any living human at an age beyond 50 years. Alzheimer’s is a mental loss illness that can cause a person to forget everything. According to the Washington Post (2015), the most people affected with Alzheimer’s are those of ages from 65 years onwards but the research shows that any human can contract the disease as early as at the age of 40 years, depending on the causes of the disease. Recently, National Institute of Aging (NIA) has done research on the disease, indicating some possible measures that could help in minimizing the risks and finding a cure for the deadly disease affecting the American community. The private institution includes the Alzheimer’s Association (AA) that deals with the research on the cure of Alzheimer’s disease. AA brought the topic to the knowledge of the community a while ago, and US Congress managed to offer some funds to the Institution although they were not enough compared to the expenses the research incurred. However, due to unavailability of enough funds, there is limited research for a cure since the government does not provide enough funds for the research programs. Therefore, a proposal for an increment in funding the research to the disease is relevant to find a solution for the benefit of the people. The government should embrace the fact that Alzheimer’s disease appears to be the third deadliest disease after cancer and AIDS. Alzheimer’s Association claims that soon, Alzheimer’s disease will have adverse effects on the population, as the number of people diagnosed with it will rise and they will require billions of dollars for their treatment. Therefore, this paper focuses on the provision of recommendations to US Congress on the essence of putting more concern in implementing enough measures and funding for the cure and reduction of Alzheimer’s disease that threatens the country’s population.
Background and History
Alzheimer’s disease appears to be the third deadliest disease after cancer and AIDS in the USA. However, scientists came up with the need to do more research on the cure of the disease through experimenting and doing thorough research on the causes of the disease. The effects of Alzheimer’s disease are more adverse to the elderly people affected with it, but still, they have a secondary effect on the people who take care of those old people, mostly their families. Bayard, Jacus, Raffard, and Gély-Nargeot, (2015) provide evidence that families that have patients suffering from the disease incur more costs in the prevention of the disease and the need to take care of them. Similarly, the government loses millions of dollars in the hospitals that take care of the patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. An estimate shows that more than 16 million people will contract Alzheimer’s by the year 2050 (Brown, 2010). However, the government will incur almost 1.1 trillion dollars in preventing the disease by 2050 (Hurd et al., 2015). More so, almost 15 million family members usually provide unpaid services to their sick patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease (Hurd et al., 2015). Therefore, incurred costs in curing and preventing Alzheimer’s tend to be more than the cost the research can incur.
As stated by Hurd et al. (2015), the reports show that Alzheimer’s Association responsible for the research to finding a cure for the disease managed to get an awarded of fund of $566 million. According to the director of the Association, the awarded funds are less as compared to the allocated funds to cancer and AIDS departments of research. The AIDS department received an amount of ($2.9 billion), and Cancer projects received ($5.4 billion) (Hurd et al., 2015). The amount allocated to Alzheimer’s projects would not account for the expenses incurred by the researchers, as they need more money since finding the cure for the disease will include many research projects. The issue of funding is the major problem with the association because research is impossible without funds. Similarly, Hurd et al. (2015) stated that the National Institute of Health, a collaboration of Alzheimer’s Association produced a report that indicated that the amount of funds incurred by the government in curing and taking care of the diagnosed Alzheimer patients was more than that allocated to the research projects. According to Hurd et al. (2015), the government uses almost $214 billion to those diagnosed by Alzheimer. Therefore, providing $566 million to the projects is just a minimal amount and the need for more is still required.
The government of the United States in the department of health issues is the first group of the legislature to implement the decisions of scientists in the question of Alzheimer’s disease. However, through the Court system, the processes of amending and making a law is made easier if the participants agree on the same thing regarding an important issue. US Congress is a key stakeholder to the legislature, and the Alzheimer’s Association should address their issues to the department with the aim of getting full assistance. Similarly, the proposal addressed to US Congress is supposed to inspire them on the need to heed to AA’s plead for funding of their researchers. The role of US Congress is to pass laws, amend laws, and give advice to the government on important matters concerning the benefit of society (Karlawish, 2011). Congress comprises of different individuals with a specific scope of powers and expertise; hence, a rise of a certain issue affecting the nation is addressed with caution. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the health policy brief addressed to US Congress entails on the purpose of the bill and the need for Congress to hear point of view to come up with the same conclusion (Washington Post, 2015).
Earlier, a bill was passed to become a law concerning Alzheimer’s disease. President Obama signed a law of National Alzheimer Project Act in 2011, and that was the best move towards the fight against Alzheimer’s disease (Bayard et al., 2015). However, the law did not have much impact since funding was an issue hindering the research for a cure. The law can make significant impacts in giving funds to the Alzheimer’s Association if all the members of US Congress can decide on the same thing. However, the key responsibility of US Congress is to agree on matters that are important and make decisions for of the government.
The health policy brief entails the procedures and mechanisms to handle matters at hand regarding Alzheimer’s disease. The main goal of the policy aimed at the stakeholders is to convince them of the need to give funds to the research groups to find a cure to the deadly disease. However, the policy provides for the strategic plans and research procedures as well as the useful research teams like National Institute on Aging (NIA) and National Institute of Health. These are the key research teams that are essential to the Alzheimer’s Association that does the relevant research on the advancement of Alzheimer’s disease. The policy’s aim is to get the funds and the stakeholders to start or supplement the research on Alzheimer’s drug search.
Policy Roles and Impacts
The role of the policy brief is to convince the stakeholders to acknowledge their request for the funding of the Alzheimer’s research teams. The policy only suggests the possible ways to respond to the challenge facing the US community as well as the whole world since many people will suffer from the disease if action is not taken immediately. However, the government is supposed to heed to the requests of the policy since the Alzheimer’s Association requires assistance in the form of support and funding. The policy must influence the stakeholders to get interest in the policy brief as they state the impacts and undesirable effects of the disease. Therefore, the need to fund the research team is vital to the state as well as to the stakeholders and medical system.
The Association plans to install a new forum of surveillance to ensure recording and keeping of data collected from those people who get well from the disease. The Central for Disease Control and Prevention Board collects the data from a significant decrease of the disease, hence encouraging the policy makers on the need to act more for the benefit of the Association. The scientists need to have more funds and resources to study the behavior of the human brains. By studying the brains, scientists can recognize the early stages of the disease, which will enable them to prevent brain damage. A cure will also be available with time. Scientists have identified a new way of testing the possible ways of finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. Some of the scientists claim that a test for the cure is still in the process whereby they can invent an immunization system of preventing people from getting the disease at an early age (Karlawish, 2011). The system is yet to be proved but with the help of US Congress, and researchers will find a solution soon if they are given the funds and resources. Similarly, National Institute of Aging has their way of engaging volunteers in research as common people avail themselves in the laboratories for brain testing. According to Longest (2006), the scientists test the behavior of the brains in different individuals, the recordings help them in identifying different findings from healthy and diagnosed people; therefore, some progress is experienced. However, scientists have identified that Alzheimer’s disease has other symptoms accompanying it. Thus, the cause of memory loss is accompanied by other symptoms, and if the doctors can cure or prevent the symptoms from manifesting, they can make the patients more comfortable, hence making it easy for the caregivers to look after the patients with Alzheimer’s.
One of the major barriers facing the implementation of the research and cure of the disease is the lack of funds. The diagnosed people and those taking care of them are the most affected people. They usually spend much of their time taking care of the elderly and probably, there is no payment for their work. Families and relatives are the most affected by the disease because it is their responsibilities not to abandon one of their family members. However, the main challenge facing the research programs is a lack of enough individuals volunteering to the research. Institutional laboratories lack enough volunteers since most institutes are free and they offer no payment to the volunteers (Melhado, 2006). The reason is that the government does not provide enough funds for the research programs. Similarly, many people are not aware of the existence of Alzheimer’s disease. Hence, no one understands the meaning or dangers of the disease. For the diagnosed patients, costs of care rise quite significantly, and that is a barrier towards the finding the cure for the disease. Other barriers include the lack of preparedness of the caregivers to the rising number of elderly patients. Considering the barriers for the research on the cure of Alzheimer’s disease, the Alzheimer’s Association has undertaken significant measures ensuring that the patients get enough care, and the research does not stop despite funds issues.
Status in the Health Policy Arena
Many people find themselves in the middle of financial constraints when they fall ill at any time. The majority of people in the USA do not have an insurance cover to cater for their health needs in times of crisis or emergencies. Similarly, Alzheimer’s patients are caught unaware when they are diagnosed with the disease. Insurance covers fail to recognize them in times of needs, making their life more complicated by increasing the cost of medical care to their families (Longest, 2006). Similarly, nurses fail to provide quality health care to the sick, creating more problems than before. Nurses are the first people to notice the effectiveness of health care for the patients. When hospitals do not have enough resources to provide care to their patients, nurses take healthy steps in ensuring the officials take note of their current situation. Therefore, the nurses provide first information straight from the patients simply because nurses meet the patients on daily basis.
Considering the effects of Alzheimer’s disease on Americans, the government should ensure the provision of a long-term solution to the disease. Implementation of the proposed measures by the Alzheimer’s Association research group can bring changes to society if it is embraced. However, funds are the major objective towards the abolishing of the disease since research programs initiated should provide the researchers and their patients with a cure for the disease. US Congress should make sure they provide funds to the Alzheimer’s Research Association for them to complete their task of finding a cure. However, by providing funds to the research, the government will eventually minimize the risks of incurring other expenses in future. Scientists claim that the US government is at risk of maximum expenses in the year 2050 if they do not find a cure for Alzheimer’s on time. Longest (2006) states that an estimate sum of $203 billion was used in the year 2013 in caring for the patients of Alzheimer’s and additional $142 billion for medical costs in hospitals. The cost increased was from an increase compared to the previous year of 2012 where $216 billion all across the USA was incurred by the caregiving services (Melhado, 2006). However, the government can decide to minimize these costs if they can invest in research for a cure. In comparison to the invested funds allocated to counter projects of AIDS and cancer, the funds allocated to Alzheimer’s disease are relatively minimal, thus complicating the research for a better cure.
Alzheimer’s disease has affected many people in the world for quite a long time. There is a widespread assumption that the disease only affects the elderly people because of their age but research shows that Alzheimer’s also affects the young people in many ways. The government allocated some funds for research for a better cure, but that was little funds compared to other funds allocated to AIDS and cancer projects. The adverse effects of Alzheimer’s disease have led to the usage of millions of dollars to provide care and medical aid to the diagnosed patients. However, the US government is said to expect more funds usage if the cure is not found soon. The responsibility of the research institutes like National Institute of Aging and Alzheimer’s Association should find a cure for the disease, hence minimizing the medical expenses for the disease. Therefore, US Congress has the mandate to pass the bill on the increment of funds allocation to the Alzheimer’s Association for the research of the cure.