When Alzheimer’s dementia strikes, the patient tends to forget a few things such as time to take their medications, where they placed their car keys or names of places.
At this initial stage, the patient might continue staying at home with their loved ones taking care of them. Family members could hire caregivers to take care of the patient or have technological reminders that keep the patient on their tabs as far as time to take medication.
As the disease progresses though, the patient starts having dire physical challenges such as walking, remembering anybody in the household or eating. At this stage, family members could opt to take the patient to a hospice.
Although the hospice recommends that a patient be taken there when they have less than six months of living, determining how a patient with dementia is going to live for is difficult. Only a clinical doctor can correctly estimate how much time an Alzheimer’s dementia patient has to live using the guidelines outlined by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.
We advise relatives to take a patient to a nearby hospice or get hospice home care if the following conditions are detected:
- Patient has challenges eating or drinking
- Doctors have said that the patient has less than six months of living
- Patient has difficulties walking or doing anything on their own and depend on other people
- Patient loses their weight and are constantly dehydrated since they do not want to feed.
- If it is found that the patient has other underlying medical conditions such as heart disease, cancer, pneumonia or sepsis.
- They have fecal or urinary incontinence.
- The patient is unable to speak properly
- The patient has trouble bathing and needs assistance in cleaning up after themselves
- They are not able to dress themselves
For a patient receiving palliative care, it does not mean that they do not continue taking curative medicine for their condition. It just means that they are getting better quality care under professional caregivers.
Patients with dementia can have their hospice care services paid for by Medicare if they have a Medicare Part A plan and the doctor has certified that they have less than six months of living with a terminal illness.
Enrolling your dementia patient into a hospice service is important because of the following:
- You get relieved from stress seeing that the patient is receiving quality care under professionals.
- You are able to focus on your work without the urge to stay close to the patient monitoring them all the time
- If taken to a hospice facility or assisted living home, the patient is able to meet other patients at the hospice where they interact socially and feel happier
- The professional hospice care providers are able to manage pain and all other symptoms that your patient might have
- There are quality products at a hospice such as electric hospital beds, bed exit alarms and incontinence products which might be too expensive for you to buy at home.
- The professionals are able to know the end of life signs so that they can counsel both you and the patient about the inevitability of death. This way, the family is ready to have the patient dying and they put everything in order before the patient passes on.