Reasons for the Need

At least 55 million people in the United States live in areas with severe physician shortages, according to the Health Resources and Services Administration.

Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants can help to fill that void to ensure that patients have timely access to quality health care. Using the services of an NP or PA for routine care can mean faster appointment scheduling and less time in the waiting room; for those in rural areas, it may help to avoid having to drive long distances to get their loved one quality, routine care. You may also encounter these health professionals in skilled nursing facilities or in home care settings.

“There are people who say, I only want to see my Nurse Practitioner, and there are other people who say, 'I'm not paying to see a Nurse Practitioner, I want to see a doctor.' But I think that you should be open to the person that you can have the most useful conversation with,” says patient advocate and author Trisha Torrey. She finds that because of their training, “nurses listen differently.”

Glickstein said her mother’s NP was an excellent all-round communicator. “She worked with me by email long distance. I could ask a question in the morning and I’d get a reply by lunchtime.” More importantly, her mother felt that her physical and psychosocial health care needs were met. “I got the sense that she didn’t feel invisible. It was a whole different experience for her.”


Want to know more about these professionals? Click here: The American Academy of Physician Assistants or here: American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.

USAgainstAlzheimers, or USA2, is a national organization that engages in “public advocacy, federal relations, grassroots activity and voter relations” on behalf of those with AD and their caregivers.

New York University’s Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation has a free monthly newsletter at  This NYU site also has a link to “Clinical Stages of Alzheimer’s” — a comprehensive timeline to alert caregivers about what to expect as their loved one declines through the early, moderate, and severe stages of AD.

A website coordinated by Cornell Medical College to help caregivers prepare a safe home environment for someone with Alzheimer’s can be found at

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Liz Seegert

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