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Hospice Care for People With Dementia

It’s Not Just for Cancer Patients: When we think of hospice care we often associate it with cancer patients, but it’s also valuable for advanced stage Alzheimer’s patients. In that stage the person is unable to walk, dress or bathe without help; has trouble controlling urine and/or bowel functions; and only rarely speaks meaningful sentences.

More Specific Signs that You Should Consider Hospice Care: According to Gregg Warshaw, MD, Director of Geriatric Medicine at the University of Cincinnati and Past President of the American Geriatric Society, if your loved one with advanced Alzheimer’s is exhibiting any of the following symptoms, it’s time to talk to his or her doctor about considering hospice care:

1. Two or more episodes of pneumonia or other serious infections during the past 6-months

2. Difficulty eating and swallowing, even with feeding help, that results in weight loss of 10% or more over the preceding 6 months

3. One or more skin pressure ulcers that are not healing

Although starting hospice care for a loved one is a somber and painful experience, just remember it will help both you and your loved one have the highest possible quality of life during the precious time that is left.

Where to Find Additional Information: The Hospice Foundation of America is an excellent source for more information on this topic.



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3 Responses to “Hospice Care for People With Dementia”

  1. Jimmy Johnson from Australia says:

    My brother put my mother on hospice care but I don’t believe she should be. Especially now when I see this. She doesn’t have any of the signs you list. I am going to have to have a big fight with him.

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  2. Clyde Parks from New Jersey says:

    Last month I had to make the heart breaking decision to put my wife on hospice care. It has made me so horribly sad. I know that the end is near now. Every minute I spend with her is precious.

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  3. Annie G. Laws from Ocala, Florida says:

    The fact that this is the end and the person will be missed is sad. However, Hospice can be serene and comfortable for the patient as well as for the caregiver and the family.

    To J. Johnson–Rest assured that hospice will not admit anyone unless they need to be there. They have strict guidelines to follow. My husband and my mom were not admitted the first time I applied. Six months later they admitted my mom.
    Hospice bereavement services are most helpful when they start early. The chaplains are superb whether it is a few months, a few weeks or a few days before the end of life. Annie Laws

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