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Author Topic:   N4A Announces New Medical Specialty Partnerships to Support Family Caregivers Nationw
posted 08-03-2004 11:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for GRM4LOVE     Edit/Delete Message
Contact:Adrienne Dern, n4a

June 30, 2004

The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging Announces New Medical Specialty Partnerships to Support Family Caregivers Nationwide

Washington, D.C. The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) has expanded Making the Link: Connecting Caregivers with Services through Physicians by establishing partnerships with the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), and the Society of Geriatric Cardiology (SGC). These physician specialty organizations are joining medical associations representing primary care physicians, internists and geriatricians who are supporting family caregivers across the U.S. by serving on the Making the Link Advisory Board.

Making the Link, which is supported by a grant from the U.S. Administration on Aging, brings together two distinct but complementary systems – the aging network and health care providers – for the benefit of family caregivers across the country. Now in its second year, Making the Link connects approximately 200 Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) and Title VI – Native American aging programs with physicians in their communities. The goal is to increase awareness among physicians about the important health care role that family caregivers assume as well as the significant impact of caregiving on the health of the caregiver. Making the Link helps to make physicians aware of the vital role of local area agencies on aging (AAAs) in providing support to caregivers, including individual counseling, respite care, adult day services, home modification, and assistive technology. As a result, physicians are able to easily refer caregivers to these local agencies for assistance.

The need to support caregivers is immense. According to a 2004 survey by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, 16% of the population, or nearly 34 million adults, provide unpaid care to an individual age 50 or older. These caregivers need access to resources and services in the community that help make caregiving easier, and physicians and their staff quickly see the value of knowing where to refer their caregiving patients. As one AAA Making the Link participant commented, “Everyone I came into contact with was, in a sense, starving for this information.”

The new partnerships will heighten awareness among ophthalmologists, rheumatologists and geriatric cardiologists about the needs of caregivers who are either their own patients or family members of patients. As members of the Making the Link Advisory Board, representatives of the AAO, the ACR, and the SGC are working with n4a to promote Making the Link to their respective membership through a variety of communications vehicles. In addition, specialized brochures are being developed for AAAs to provide to cardiologists, ophthalmologists, and rheumatologists in their communities.

“We are confident that these new partnerships will lead to an expanding network of physicians who are teaming up with local AAAs to enhance the well-being of our nation’s caregivers and to support them in this critical role,” observes n4a’s CEO Sandy Markwood.

The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) is the umbrella organization for our nation’s 655 area agencies on aging (AAAs) and the representative body in Washington, D.C, for the interests of 240 Title VI-Native American aging programs. For more information about n4a, visit www.n4a.org.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) is the largest national medical association of Eye M.D.s. Eye M.D.s or ophthalmologists are medical doctors who provide comprehensive eye care, including medical, surgical and optical care. For more information about AAO, visit www.aao.org.

The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) is the professional organization of rheumatologists and associated health professionals who share a dedication to healing, preventing disability, and curing more than 100 types of arthritis and related disabling and sometimes fatal disorders of the joints, muscles, and bones. For more information about ACR, visit www.rheumatology.org.

The Society of Geriatric Cardiology (SGC) represents health care professionals with an interest in geriatric cardiovascular medicine, including cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, internists, general and family practitioners, geriatricians, exercise physiologists, other doctoral level scientists, physical therapists, cardiac rehabilitation specialists, and nurses. For more information about SGC, visit www.sgcard.org.


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