Medicine choices found to impact quality of life for Alzheimer’s patients
Published 14 Jun 2016
Alzheimer’s is a leading cause of critical illness claims in Australia. As the disease worsens, it not only impacts on the quality of life for patients themselves but can have an impact on their family, friends and other people who need to step in and help sufferers make decisions.
According to Alzheimer’s Australia, more than 350,000 residents are currently living with the disease, a number that is likely to rise to more than 400,000 by 2020. There are a number of common challenges they all face, many of which will have a drastic impact on their quality of life and the way they manage their daily affairs.
One major challenge that’s beginning to have a greater impact is the effect of the various medications on offer for sufferers. As the illness affects a person’s cognitive capacity, it can be difficult – if not impossible – to make the right choices in this regard.
The struggle to manage dementia medication
Alzheimer’s Australia recently investigated some of the key challenges surrounding medication choices, finding that making these decisions without assistance can greatly affect the way they deal with the disease. On top of this, many Alzheimer’s patients are frequently taking drugs for a number of other conditions or illnesses. Compounding side effects or incompatible medicines can result in significant difficulties.
As NPS MedicineWise CEO Dr Lynn Weekes explained, not only are patients usually tasked with taking a range of medicines, their declining cognitive abilities make it challenge to remember what to take and when.
“They may take multiple medicines due to other health conditions, increasing the risk of medicine-related side effects, or they may experience problems with memory and communication, making it difficult to remember what their doctor or pharmacist told them about their medicines, what the medicines are for, or when to take them,” she noted.
“As dementia progresses, changes in a person’s behaviour are often caused by unmet needs that might be due to their health, the environment or difficulty verbalising pain,” Dr Weekes continued. “There are a number of medicine and non-medicine therapies available to manage these associated expressions of distress.”
Concerns such as these are just one example of why critical illness claims are important for people struggling with Alzheimer’s or other debilitating conditions. To find out more about your case, contact the team at Gerard Malouf and Partners.