Is Hospice a solution for an Alzheimer's patient?

1 answer | Last updated: Mar 28, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

Is Hospice a solution for an Alzheimer's patient?

Expert Answers

Joanne Koenig Coste is a nationally recognized expert on Alzheimer's care and an outspoken advocate for patient and family care. She is the author of Learning to Speak Alzheimer's. Also, she currently is in private practice as an Alzheimer's family therapist. Ms. Koenig Coste also serves as President of Alzheimer Consulting Associates, implementing state-of-the-art Alzheimer care throughout the United States.

When you ask for a 'solution' there must exist a 'problem'. Since one has not been identified, I will assume this is a generalized query. Perhaps there is no primary carepartner or no home setting or extended healthcare community for the patient to live out his/her final years. It is difficult to accurately forecast the length of time an Alzheimer or other person with a progressive neurological illness may remain alive and, for this reason, Hospice has not always been involved with the end of life issues of the cognitively impaired. Fortunately we have come a very long way in a very short time and most Hospice workers are now trained to care for this population. I feel with the strong committment to the dying person, Hospice is both a courageous and wonderful choice to supplement care in the final stage of these diseases. By all means, have an evaluation performed by your local Hospice group and rest assured your loved one will have the best care and comfort designed specifically for the end of life process. One caveat would be to check first and be sure the staff has been trained to work with dementia patients and their carepartners; without training this may not be a perfect solution. Take care of YOU!

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