To help doctors offer the finest quality patient-centered healthcare, the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) is advocating physicians measure how often they finish annual assessments of people age 65 and older to thinking and memory problems.
A quality measure is a mathematical tool to help physicians and practices understand how often health care providers are consistent with current best practices and are based on existing AAN guideline recommendations.
Quality measures are intended to drive quality improvement in practice.
Norman L. Foster, MD, at the University of Utah at Salt Lake City and a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology.
The American Academy of Neurology is recommending the measurement of annual cognitive screenings for everyone age 65 and older because age itself is a significant risk factor for cognitive decline and mild cognitive impairment is increasingly prevalent with older age.
The measure complements past American Academy of Neurology quality measures released for Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and stroke, and allows for a doctor to meet the measure with a recommended periodic three-minute cognitive test. ”
According to this 2018 AAN guideline on moderate cognitive impairment, almost 7 percent of people in their early 60s globally have mild cognitive impairment, while 38% of people age 85 and older have it.
The new AAN quality measurement set urges doctors measure how often they conduct annual screenings to improve the recognition of moderate cognitive impairment and permit for earlier intervention.
We cannot expect people to report their own memory and thinking problems because they may not recognize that they are having problems or they may not share them with their doctors,” explained Foster.
Annual assessments will not only help identify mild cognitive impairment early, it will also help physicians more closely monitor possible worsening of the condition.
The new dimension set states that documenting moderate cognitive impairment in an individual ‘s medical record may be invaluable in alerting other physicians and medical staff so that the best care is provided to this patient.
Early analysis can help identify types of mild cognitive impairment which may be reversible, such as those caused by sleep issues, depression or medications, and contribute to treatments that can enhance a person’s quality of life such as adjusting hearing loss and avoiding social isolation.
It is also essential not to forget about loved ones and health professionals.
The measurement set additionally asks doctors to identify care associates to help clarify symptoms.
Doctors should quantify involvement with family and caregivers and provide them with advice so that they too get support and get access to services to help them cope should people’s disease progresses and to boost their well-being.