Hospice care focuses on comfort and dignity at the end of life. It’s a great benefit for those who are suffering from a terminal illness, including Alzheimier’s or dementia. The primary purpose of hospice is to manage pain and symptoms at the end stages of dementia rather than providing curative treatment.
Because dementia is chronic and progressive, patients and their families benefit from a team of specially trained providers, alternative therapies, counseling, respite care and grief support. Let’s explore some of the ways that hospice can benefit dementia patients and their families.
Receive Personalized Attention
As dementia progresses, patients lose the ability to communicate. Hospice nurses watch for their cues and ensure they are kept comfortable using a variety of therapies. They also design a plan that addresses the individual needs of the patient including hydration, nutrition, recurrent infection, agitation, pain and skin care.
Care for Patients Wherever They Are
Hospice is not a place. It’s a service that is provided to patients with a terminal illness. This means that a patient can receive hospice care services regardless of where they live – an assisted living facility, nursing home or at their own home. This around-the-clock support is invaluable in the final weeks of life when patients want to be comfortable and in a familiar place.
If a person is living out the end of life in a hospice center, assisted living facility or at home, hospice care increases the chances they’ll stay here and out of the hospital. Unfortunately when a person is at the end of a terminal illness, they’ll often go back and forth to the hospital. Having hospice nurses around allows most symptoms to be managed without the need for hospitalizations.
Emotional and Spiritual Assistance
Maintaining emotional and spiritual well-being is incredibly important at the end of life. Hospice nurses want patients to find meaning in what’s happening to them and identify sources of strength. This is why spiritual care, or pastoral care, is an important part of hospice. Both patients and their families are well-supported through the end-of-life and grieving process.
Caregiver Education and Support
Family caregivers also receive support from hospice care services, which benefits the caregiver and the patient. As the patient gets weaker, symptoms increase and communication grows difficult. It’s important that caregivers are prepared for this and how to best support their loved one’s emotional concerns over dying.
Hospice services are usually available for as long as they’re needed. If your loved one lives beyond six months, they should be able to qualify again for these services. To learn more about hospice care for dementia patients, contact VNA Health today.