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UC Davis Encouraged By Changes To Alzheimer's Care

DAVIS (CBS13) — There is new help for people dealing with Alzheimer's disease.

New state guidelines and federal funding are promising to help ease the confusion about care.

Dr. Charles DeCarli is the director of Alzheimer's Disease Center at UC Davis. He's optimistic about the new guidelines he says will translate into better care for Dementia patients. According to Dr. DeCarli, "Too many people who could be treated are not being diagnosed and therefore not getting effective treatment."

Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia and according to Alzheimer's Association, 630,000 Californians are living with the disease, yet fewer than 50 percent have been diagnosed by a health professional.

Dr. DeCarli points out, "We've got more techniques now that can help us diagnose it earlier and more effectively and offer more specific treatment."

So what exactly is changing?

"The Medicare reimbursement rules have changed to allow us to be reimbursed at a reasonable rate for these assessments, I think that's the biggest difference" says Dr. DeCarli.

Along with prescriptions, Dr. DeCarli points to education and a connection to community resources which can make a big difference to those with the disease. "They don't necessarily need to go in to assisted living nearly as early otherwise and often times the knowledge can really help the quality of life."

Mynga Futrell believes the new guidelines will be life-changing. She cared for her mother with the disease and now watches her husband Paul, slip away saying, "I'm losing my partner in life."

She urges those dealing with the disease to get help. "It's really important not to say, there's nothing to be done with the person who has Alzheimer's."

These new Medicare funding and care guidelines have been more than five years in the making and will now be available to all physicians, nurse practitioners and medical specialists.

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