UAH College of Nursing students help pass State House Silver Alert bill

Brain scans

UAH College of Nursing students help pass the Alabama Silver Alert Bill protecting missing persons with degenerative brain disorders such as Dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Advocates for senior adults achieved a major victory this month when the Alabama State House and Senate passed the Silver Alert Bill HB 427, protecting missing persons with degenerative brain disorders such as Dementia and Alzheimer’s. The Silver Alert Bill awaits Governor Kay Ivey’s signature.

Students at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) College of Nursing and the Alzheimer’s Association joined forces to ensure passage of the bill.

"UAH Gerontology nursing students felt participating in this lobby day on Capitol Hill was a way to put professionalism into practice and participate in something that could positively impact older adult clients with cognitive impairment," said Dr. Amy Hunter, UAH Clinical Assistant Professor of Nursing and Gerontology Course Manager.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association (alz.org), nearly six million Americans are living with the disease. The organization estimates six in 10 people with Dementia will wander away at some point during the course of the illness.

Specifically, HB 427Silver Alert Bill will serve to ease potential stressful situations impacting seniors in the event they go missing. Law enforcement agencies would issue an immediate alert, notifying public officials and media broadcasters. Alerts would then be transmitted on radio, television and Department of Transportation highway signs.

"It is important for our UAH nursing students to understand the importance of being a patient advocate and playing an active role as nursing professionals to influence health care policy," said Dr. Marsha Howell Adams, UAH Dean of Nursing.

According to the Population Reference Bureau (prb.org), there are more than 77 million baby boomers. "Because the population of older adults is rapidly growing. It is very important for the future of nursing to have a positive perception regarding older adults and be highly skilled in geriatric care due to the complexity of medical conditions," said Hunter.

"We really felt like we were making a difference and helping to save lives," said Hunter. "About 100 UAH nursing students, and two instructors attended the lobby day, along with Alzheimer’s Association members and volunteers. We had meetings with House of Representative members as well as Senators to ask for support and their response was overwhelming yes!"

Similar Silver Alert programs have been adopted in 41 states.


Contact

Dr. Amy Hunter
 256.824.5388
amy.hunter@uah.edu

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