Early-stage Alzheimer's patients 'must be protected against discrimination'

Posted on 16 September 2011

People in the early stages of Alzheimer's who are still working so they can pay for long term care should be protected against discrimination, researchers have emphasised.

A study published in journal Neurology emphasised that practices should be put in place to identify the disease increasingly early on, in a similar way to heart disease and cholesterol.

Researcher Dr Jason Karlawish underlined how biomarker test results could cause anxiety for many patients and so doctors should put a lot of thought into communicating a diagnosis of pre-clinical Alzheimer's disease.

"The Alzheimer's disease label does not equate to disability," he said.

"In order to ensure that patients' daily lives (i.e. driving, financial planning, work status) aren't negatively or prematurely limited, laws and policies need to be revised to prevent stigma, discrimination and, when patients do suffer disability, exploitation."

This follows comments from Ian Weatherhead, lead nurse for Admiral Nursing Direct, who underlined that early diagnosis is "essential" for appropriate treatment options.

Posted by Natalie Edwards

 

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