The goal of our hospice program is to help our patients live comfortably when a cure is no longer possible. When time matters most, our team of specially trained clinicians and caregivers deliver expert medical care, pain management and emotional and spiritual support tailored to the needs of your loved one. Rather than providing treatment, Hospice is more about managing pain and other symptoms during the last stages of life. For some, the disease can progress slowly and leave mental function largely intact for several years. For others, Alzheimer’s Disease is aggressive and quickly robs patients of their memory.
Here are five signs that your loved one with Alzheimer’s may be ready for Hospice care:
They have a history of dementia that has increased to total dependency. Dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability that is severe enough to interfere with daily life and activities.
They have a decreased food or fluid intake resulting in weight loss. As a person’s cognitive function declines, he or she may become overwhelmed with food choices, have difficulty using utensils or change in perception might make taste and smell more difficult. In some cases, a doctor may suggest supplements between meals to add calories.
They are unable to form intelligent speech. As people with Alzheimer’s gradually lose their ability to find words, express thoughts and follow conversations, they also have more difficulty understanding others. Communication changes during the middle stages of Alzheimer’s include trouble finding the right word, repeating questions, losing the train of thought, reverting to a native language and relying on non-verbal communication.
They are unable to walk or move without assistance. Being a caregiver for someone in the middle stages of Alzheimer’s requires flexibility and patience. As the abilities of the person with Alzheimer’s change and functioning independently become more difficult, greater responsibility is required. Daily routines will need to be adapted, and structure will become more important.
They have co-morbidities and/or secondary conditions that contribute to their physical decline. Dealing with other conditions while the brain is in decline will become more challenging as the dementia progresses. In addition to enhancing quality of life, activities can reduce agitation and wandering.
Patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s require consistent management of the physical and emotional sides of their disease. Hospice care can help with that varying management.