Hospice Care for Those with End Stage Alzheimer’s Disease

Hospice Care for Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia

If you are reading this, it is likely you or someone you love has been waging a difficult physical and emotional battle against Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. Hospice serves those in the end stages of dementia, relieving pain, controlling symptoms, improving quality of life and reducing anxiety and worry for patients and their families.

Considering the slow decline of a patient with dementia, it can be difficult to determine when the time is right for hospice. In general, hospice patients are thought to have six months or less to live. Only a doctor can make a clinical determination of life expectancy. However, look for these common signs that the disease has progressed to a point where all involved would likely benefit from hospice care for dementia:

The patient can say only a few words

The patient can no longer walk and may be bed-bound

The patient is totally dependent on others for eating, dressing and grooming

The patient shows signs of severe anxiety

Are you a healthcare provider?

Source: vitas.com

What is hospice care?

Increasingly, people are choosing hospice care at the end of life. Hospice care focuses on the care, comfort, and quality of life of a person with a serious illness who is approaching the end of life.

At some point, it may not be possible to cure a serious illness, or a patient may choose not to undergo certain treatments. Hospice is designed for this situation. The patient beginning hospice care understands that his or her illness is not responding to medical attempts to cure it or to slow the disease’s progress.

Like palliative care, hospice provides comprehensive comfort care as well as support for the family, but, in hospice, attempts to cure the person’s illness are stopped. Hospice is provided for a person with a terminal illness whose doctor believes he or she has six months or less to live if the illness runs its natural course.

It’s important for a patient to discuss hospice care options with their doctor. Sometimes, people don’t begin hospice care soon enough to take full advantage of the help it offers. Perhaps they wait too long to begin hospice and they are too close to death. Or, some people are not eligible for hospice care soon enough to receive its full benefit. Starting hospice early may be able to provide months of meaningful care and quality time with loved ones.

Source: nia.nih.gov

When is your dementia patient ready for hospice care?

Alzheimer’s disease and other progressive dementias are life-altering and eventually fatal conditions for which curative therapy is not available. Patients with dementia or Alzheimer’s are eligible for hospice care when they show all of the following characteristics:1

Unable to ambulate without assistance

Unable to dress without assistance

Unable to bathe properly

Incontinence of bowel and bladder

Unable to speak or communicate meaningfully (ability to speak is limited to approximately a half dozen or fewer intelligible and different words)

Thinking of dementia as a terminal illness from which patients will decline over a matter of years, rather than months, allows healthcare professionals to focus explicitly and aggressively on a palliative care plan.2

Source: vitas.com

Plan in Advance

The best way to get ready for the final stages of your loved one’s Alzheimer’s disease is to talk to them about their wishes as soon as possible. Ask what medical treatments they want or don’t want.

Help them fill out the legal documents that spell out their wishes, called advance directives. If they can’t understand, then use what you know about them to decide what they might prefer.

Some other important things you’ll need to do include:

Talk regularly to your loved one’s primary doctor about the outlook and timetable for their illness.

Get their will and other financial plans in order.

Decide if it would be better for your loved one to die at home or in a place like a hospital or nursing home. If you decide on home care, know that you can change your mind if it gets too hard.

Find out about hospice, palliative care, and other services available in your area and what yourinsurancewill cover.

Decide what hospice or palliative care team you’d like to care for them. If they haveMedicare, make sure the service or hospice you choose is Medicare-certified.

Decide which funeral home you’ll use and what the funeral plans will be.

Source: webmd.com

Hospice Care for Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia

If you are reading this, it is likely you or someone you love has been waging a difficult physical and emotional battle against Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. Hospice serves those in the end stages of dementia, relieving pain, controlling symptoms, improving quality of life and reducing anxiety and worry for patients and their families.

Considering the slow decline of a patient with dementia, it can be difficult to determine when the time is right for hospice. In general, hospice patients are thought to have six months or less to live. Only a doctor can make a clinical determination of life expectancy. However, look for these common signs that the disease has progressed to a point where all involved would likely benefit from hospice care for dementia:

The patient can say only a few words

The patient can no longer walk and may be bed-bound

The patient is totally dependent on others for eating, dressing and grooming

The patient shows signs of severe anxiety

Are you a healthcare provider?

Source: vitas.com

What is hospice care?

Increasingly, people are choosing hospice care at the end of life. Hospice care focuses on the care, comfort, and quality of life of a person with a serious illness who is approaching the end of life.

At some point, it may not be possible to cure a serious illness, or a patient may choose not to undergo certain treatments. Hospice is designed for this situation. The patient beginning hospice care understands that his or her illness is not responding to medical attempts to cure it or to slow the disease’s progress.

Like palliative care, hospice provides comprehensive comfort care as well as support for the family, but, in hospice, attempts to cure the person’s illness are stopped. Hospice is provided for a person with a terminal illness whose doctor believes he or she has six months or less to live if the illness runs its natural course.

It’s important for a patient to discuss hospice care options with their doctor. Sometimes, people don’t begin hospice care soon enough to take full advantage of the help it offers. Perhaps they wait too long to begin hospice and they are too close to death. Or, some people are not eligible for hospice care soon enough to receive its full benefit. Starting hospice early may be able to provide months of meaningful care and quality time with loved ones.

Source: nia.nih.gov

When is your dementia patient ready for hospice care?

Alzheimer’s disease and other progressive dementias are life-altering and eventually fatal conditions for which curative therapy is not available. Patients with dementia or Alzheimer’s are eligible for hospice care when they show all of the following characteristics:1

Unable to ambulate without assistance

Unable to dress without assistance

Unable to bathe properly

Incontinence of bowel and bladder

Unable to speak or communicate meaningfully (ability to speak is limited to approximately a half dozen or fewer intelligible and different words)

Thinking of dementia as a terminal illness from which patients will decline over a matter of years, rather than months, allows healthcare professionals to focus explicitly and aggressively on a palliative care plan.2

Source: vitas.com

Plan in Advance

The best way to get ready for the final stages of your loved one’s Alzheimer’s disease is to talk to them about their wishes as soon as possible. Ask what medical treatments they want or don’t want.

Help them fill out the legal documents that spell out their wishes, called advance directives. If they can’t understand, then use what you know about them to decide what they might prefer.

Some other important things you’ll need to do include:

Talk regularly to your loved one’s primary doctor about the outlook and timetable for their illness.

Get their will and other financial plans in order.

Decide if it would be better for your loved one to die at home or in a place like a hospital or nursing home. If you decide on home care, know that you can change your mind if it gets too hard.

Find out about hospice, palliative care, and other services available in your area and what yourinsurancewill cover.

Decide what hospice or palliative care team you’d like to care for them. If they haveMedicare, make sure the service or hospice you choose is Medicare-certified.

Decide which funeral home you’ll use and what the funeral plans will be.

Source: webmd.com