A Multidisciplinary Approach to Alzheimer’s Disease: Who Should Be Members of the Team?

  • Claire L. Jurkowski
    Requests for reprints should be addressed to Claire L. Jurkowski, MD, Hampton Behavioral Health Center, Hampton Hospital, 650 Rancocas Road, Westampton, New Jersey 08060
    University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and Hampton Behavioral Health Center, Hampton Hospital, Westampton, New Jersey, USA
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      The treatment goal for persons with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is to maintain the highest level of function possible and to minimize behavioral disturbances. Since multiple factors have an impact on function, a multidisciplinary approach to treatment and care is most effective. Whereas the primary-care physician can diagnose AD in most patients, data collection and routine examinations can be conducted by a nurse practitioner/clinical nurse specialist, and nonprofessional staff can often do mental status testing. Nutritionists, pharmacists, geropsychiatrists, home-healthcare case managers, elder-law attorneys, support services, and caregivers all fill important roles as members of the “AD team.” With two AD drugs currently available and several impending new introductions, pharmacotherapy is becoming an increasingly more critical treatment option.
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