Adapted from Alzheimer’s Association press release.
Many individuals worry that an Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis will lead to discrimination in the workplace and exclusion in the medical setting, according to Penn Memory Center research. These perceptions may prevent someone from going to the doctor to get the care they need, or from participating in clinical trials needed to advance Alzheimer’s disease research and care.
At PMC, clinical psychologist and researcher Dr. Shana Stites led a team to look at responses from a general public survey featuring descriptions about a man named “Mr. Andrews.” In one version of the survey that went to 317 randomly selected respondents, Mr. Andrews went to the doctor’s office complaining of memory problems and was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. (Other versions had Mr. Andrews diagnosed traumatic brain injury, or not diagnosed with anything at all.)
Respondents were then asked questions about Mr. Andrews. More than half of respondents expected him to face workplace discrimination (55.3%) and to be excluded from medical decision-making (55.3%). Nearly half also thought his health insurance would be limited due to information about his diagnosis being placed in his medical record (46.6%) or based on the result of a test, such as a brain imaging scan (45.6%) or genetic test (44.7%).