Health policies in any country are essential to provide support to patients undergoing such chronic disease. The policies are meant to provide patients and caregivers with the facilities and accessibilities that they need for everyday usage. However, many are still unaware of what kind of aids and welfares catered for AD patients. The government of Malaysia, specifically the Ministry of Health Malaysia has set up proper guidelines for managing AD patients. The guidelines include caregiver intervention to patients with early symptoms of AD, mild and severe.
Firstly, when one is diagnosed with AD, caregivers should take note of the Mental HealthAct 2001 which states that the key to the patient’s right of autonomy is the presence of adequate decision-making capacity. When patients lose the decision-making capacity, it is important to protect them from their own harmful decision or actions (Management of Dementia, 2009). Therefore, if patients refuse certain treatments while lacking the capacity to decide, caregivers are allowed to revert the decision given that caregivers are well advised by doctors to proceed with such treatments.
Treatments for AD patients will follow the symptoms shown by patients accordingly as the objective of the treatments intends to minimize the distress of symptoms on patients rather than curing the disease. In Malaysia, the treatments can include reducing the distress of symptoms on patients’ physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects depending on patients’ choice. Drug medication, psychoeducation, psychotherapy for behavioral and psychological symptoms of AD, and training for palliative care to the caregivers are available (Management of Dementia, 2009).
Next, it is vital to take note that AD is part of the 21 critical illnesses that are covered by insurance. Therefore, patients who are insurance-covered are able to claim from their insurance agency for financial assistances, provided that their development of AD worsening significantly.Apart from that, there are various Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) that can provide AD patients with aids and welfares. These NGOs offer frequent meetings, activities and fund raisings for AD patients and their caregivers. Some of the NGOs have home care center and daily day care center where AD patients can be sent there while their guardians are working (Hati, n.d.).
There are, however, several setbacks to the health policy for AD patients in Malaysia. The first setback is that a lot of aid centers are situated in the city of Kuala Lumpur only. Other AD patients living in the village areas such as in Kelantan or Terengganu would find it difficult to access the facilities available. The second setback is that the caregiver intervention program in Malaysia is still far from being well-established. Countries such as Thailand and Netherlands have even established a make believe village for AD patients to live there with their families.