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Pass act to educate and train caregivers

Wednesday Journal of Oak Park & River Forest - 3/14/2018

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

I urge Congressman Danny Davis to co-sponsor the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act. My mother, Jane, died last year after battling Alzheimer's disease for over five years. During those financially and emotionally draining years, we hired over 20 different caregivers from private agencies to assist us in her care. They all guaranteed us that their caregivers were trained in working with patients suffering from Alzheimer's dementia.

Unfortunately, that was not the case. My mother was a sweet, non-violent person, and uneducated caregivers would become frustrated or negligent because they did not understand how to care for someone with the disease. Caregiving is a hard job, mentally and physically, and often there is very little communication between the caregivers, family and medical staff. The proper training of our caregivers would have made a more manageable transition for our family and for mother's end of life care from this horrific disease.

Following these experiences, I have joined forces with the Alzheimer's Association to encourage passage of the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act or PCHETA (HR 1676). When enacted, this bill would help establish an adequate, well-trained palliative care workforce through training, education, awareness, and enhanced research. Palliative and hospice care are specific medical approaches that focus on increasing support for patients and their caregivers.

I want to thank Congressman Danny Davis for his past support and urge him to co-sponsor HR 1676. This bill will help open communication between patients, caregivers, doctors, and staff to ensure that quality care is available for those who are suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

Deanne Alexander

Oak Park


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