As Alzheimer's Disease progresses to the end stage, hospice care may become appropriate. Hospice offers many benefits to both the individual needing care and their family members by providing both medical care and support for emotional and spiritual needs. Hospice provides a comprehensive team of medical professionals such as doctors, nurses, social workers, chaplains and home health aides or nursing assistants.
Many times, people are understandably hesitant about starting hospice because they feel like they are giving up. However, hospice helps to provide an increased quality of life for the remaining time that they have left. Hospice is for individuals who have a prognosis of 6 months or less to live, and the focus to to make the individual the most comfortable as possible. When someone is enrolled in hospice, they typically stop medications or treatments that are meant to cure whatever terminal condition they are suffering from. However, medications that are used to treat symptoms such as pain or anxiety are used to make the individual as comfortable as possible.
Because Alzheimer's Disease and other types of dementia can last for years, it is important to follow the advice of medical professionals to better understand the disease progression and when an individual might be ready for hospice care. A hospice consultation is a great way to understand more about what hospice care involves and can help family members better understand what to expect.
To download Rethinking Dementia's handout regarding hospice care, click here.
You can also click here to view a list of providers who offer hospice care.
To read the article, "End-of-Life Care for People with Dementia," by the National Institute on Aging, click here.
Alzheimer's Disease is characterized by three main stages. These include early stage (mild), middle-stage (moderate), and late-stage (severe). Before signs of Alzheimer's Disease start, changes in the brain are already occurring.
When caregiving has become too much and you need to seek outside help, there are many factors worth considering in order to make an informed decision about what the best fit will be for you or your loved one.