Alzheimer's Disease and Advance Directives: A Primer for Primary Care Physicians

Originally presented on September 17, 2015

Wayne Shelton, PhD, MSW
Professor of Medicine and Bioethics, Alden March Bioethics Institute, Albany Medical College

Kevin Costello, MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine and Attending, Department of Medicine, Albany Medical College

The New York State Department of Health is engaged in a multi-pronged effort to improve care and support for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, as well their caregivers. This webcast will raise awareness among healthcare providers, especially primary care physicians (PCPs), about the looming crisis of increasing Alzheimer's disease in this country. The program will provide critical information and tools to prepare these healthcare providers to have constructive conversations with patients that have remaining capacity about their preferences for medical care in the advance stage of disease.

In addition, the webcast gives participants a working knowledge of the ethical basis for advance directives, including the professional obligation to fully disclose the diagnosis of dementia and to have a meaningful conversation with each patient and his or her caregiver about advance directives. Specific options to ensure patients are not over treated with potentially burdensome medical interventions when acute medical problems arise will also be covered. By providing tools to help physicians have meaningful conversations about advance directives with patients and their caregivers, this webinar will not only remind participants of the increasing number of new Alzheimer’s patients they are likely to have under their care, but also help them capitalize on the window of opportunity for effective conversations about advance directives.

Learning Objectives
After watching this webcast participants will be able to:

  • Discuss the dramatic impact that the growing number of new Alzheimer’s patients has on both patients and caregivers
  • Describe healthcare providers' professional obligation within their window of opportunity to have and document conversations with patients with remaining capacity about advance directives
  • Identify the criteria for determining capacity

Continuing Education Credits are expired for this activity. We encourage you to still take the evaluation as it helps towards planning future programs. Thank you!