The Advocate had a great article on how, when, and why to choose hospice services for someone suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease.
Hospice care is a type and philosophy of care that centers on easing the pain and symptoms of a terminally or seriously ill patient and attending to that patient’s emotional and spiritual needs. Hospice care is provided by a team of professionals, which may include a medical director, the attending physician, nurses, social workers, counselors, clergy and home health aides. Once hospice care is ordered by the physician, and the patient is enrolled in that care, the team meets regularly to evaluate and coordinate a plan of care.
At end-stage Alzheimer’s disease, the goal of hospice is to keep that person as comfortable as possible. One member of the team should be available 24 hours a day to address issues and concerns. Hospice care can be offered in a home, nursing home, assisted living facility or an in-house hospice care facility.
With the progression of the disease, other conditions are also associated in the late stages such as aspiration pneumonia, urinary tract infection, septicaemia and decubitus ulcers. Health conditions such as cardiovascular disease or congestive heart failure, lung disease, strokes, diabetes, renal failure and cancer also could significantly impair the affected patient’s health and functionality.
Medicare, Medicaid and many private insurance policies cover hospice care costs.
In choosing a hospice provider, you would want to consider the provider’s services and reputation, if the staff is specifically trained in Alzheimer’s disease and the plan of care developed by the staff. You can also ask if the hospice provider is licensed by the state or accredited by a licensing organization, such as the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.