An important legal “tool” that ensures the autonomous and dignified living of patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease is the new action plan presented on Tuesday (31.10.2023) to the Council of Ministers by the Minister of Health, Michalis Chrysochoidis.
The Greek Action Plan for dementia and Alzheimer’s has an implementation horizon of 2023-2028. During this period, it is expected to bring for the first time a legal demarcation and securing of patients’ rights, as well as institutional recognition of the role of caregivers.
In the proposed draft law, the “power of attorney for care and care” is provided, among other things. This allows the patient with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease to designate as his legal representative a specific person of his trust, with the aim of making decisions regarding his treatment and care when he has lost his mental capacity.
In continuation of the previous process, comes the registration of the patient’s wishes for the place, the way and the type of medical care he wants during his treatment.
“Advance care and care directives” absolutely ensure the instructions and directions that the dementia or Alzheimer’s sufferer wishes to give to their caregiver, before the disease takes away the expression of a valid will.
The document remains binding and sets out his wishes, but also the type of treatment and care he wants to have until the end of his life.
Chrysochoidis: We are making progress in understanding and treating dementia
Presenting the parameters of the plan to the Council of Ministers, the Minister of Health, Michalis Chrysochoidis, emphasized that with the Greek Action Plan for Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease “we prove that we are making progress in the understanding and treatment of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and can now provide effective care for sufferers and their families”.
At the same time, he noted that the rights of persons suffering from dementia are recognized and delimited, while the role of informal caregivers is also recognized.
“At the same time, we are introducing into the Greek legal order of institutions the “power of attorney for care and care”, as well as the “advance directives for care and care” for persons suffering from dementia. Prevention is possible and we can achieve it”, he concluded.
The National Council on Dementia and Alzheimer’s is created
For the implementation of the plan, the National Council for Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease is expected to be established with the participation of representatives from four ministries (Health, Family, Labor and Finance).
The strategic planning includes 7 main axes, namely: 1) registration and classification of patients, 2) informing the public with the aim of prevention, 3) supporting caregivers and patients, 4) dealing with dementia, 5) legal securing the rights of sufferers and their caregivers, 6) research and finally, 7) education.
450 thousand dementia sufferers
According to a recent epidemiological study, in our country more than 160,000 people suffer from Dementia and more than 280,000 from a mild mental disorder that is a pre-stage of Dementia.
In total, more than 450,000 people suffer from Dementia and Related Disorders (ADD), according to figures from the Ministry of Health.
If it is calculated, in fact, how for each patient with dementia the lives of 2-3 caregivers – family members are significantly affected, the condition directly affects more than 1 million Greek citizens.
Concern in Greece about the impending Dementia pandemic
The rapid rise in life expectancy in developed countries has turned Dementia into one of the biggest medical, social and financial problems worldwide.
Alzheimer’s disease approaches 55 million sufferers in 2019, while it is estimated that this number will more than double in the next 15-20 years, reaching 139 million in 2050.
In Greece, with the problem of low fertility particularly active, the health authorities have become alarmed.
According to the Ministry of Health, Greece will be significantly affected by the dementia and related disorders (ADD) pandemic, due to its particularly aging population. Soon 1/4 of the inhabitants will be over 60 years old.
In our country there are approximately two million elderly people and less than 20,000 live in Nursing Homes.
One of the most common problems they face is depression, delirium, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia and psychosis, dementia, suicidal tendencies, alcohol abuse as well as dependence on other addictive substances.
By Gianna Soulaki/iatropedia.gr