Hospice care is specially designed for terminally ill people to support their families. This caring service serves individuals in the last stages of dementia when they are treated to make them feel comfortable rather than healing the underlying disease.
So hospice care can control symptoms, relieve pain, reduce anxiety and improve the quality of life of the dementia patient and their families.
Generally, people who need this special caring service have only a few months to live – about six months or less.
Continue reading to know more about hospice care.
When to Use Hospice Care Service for Dementia Patients?
People with dementia show a slow decline in health. So determining the right time to avail of hospice care can be difficult. Only a doctor can determine the life expectancy clinically.
However, you can understand that dementia has advanced to a stage where it seeks hospice care by looking at some signs, including –
- The person can’t walk anymore; completely bed-ridden
- He or she can hardly speak a few words
- The individual can’t do anything themselves – eat, groom or dress
- Their anxiety level has increased severely.
How Can Hospice Care Help a Dementia Patient?
Hospice care endeavors to release emotional and physical stress with treatments that focus on retaining patients’ dignity and making them comfortable at the end of life.
It proves significantly beneficial to individuals in the last stages of Alzheimer’s or any dementia.
Fascinatingly, the hospice care program was initially developed for cancer patients who likely have just six months or less to live.
However, a recent study revealed that dementia patients under hospice care are likely to get more care and reduce anxiety than those not utilizing hospice care.
This study included 2,059 persons over 70years who died between 2011 and 2017. About 951 of these seniors had dementia, and 59% of them utilized hospice care.
It means that these individuals received nursing services and assisted living facilities. Among the remaining 60% of seniors with no dementia, 43% availed of hospice care.
The comprehensive services that hospice provides to dementia patients include –
Caring for Patients Where They LiveIt can be at the patient’s home, assisted living communities, or long-term care facilities. If the symptoms become much more severe to treat at home, patients are offered 24-hour care service until they become fit enough to return home.
Personalized Care PlanPeople lose the ability to manifest their needs as dementia progresses to the next stages. With hospice services, you will have a plan designed based on your unique needs. It addresses every common issue or symptom related to the disease, including nutrition needs, pain, recurrent infection, skincare, and irritation. Hospice care even provides resources to help maintain the spiritual and emotional well-being of patients.
Harmonized Care at All LevelsHospice experts usually design a care plan, taking the consent and advice of the dementia patient’s doctor and other physicians, if any. They provide all medicinal supplies, medicines, and equipment for diagnosis. So the patient will be supplied with everything they need to be comfortable at the crucial stages of dementia.
The Overall Advantages of Hospice Care
Besides the specialized medical facilities and care for dementia patients, hospice care also offers many other benefits. So let’s check them out!
Personal care and attentionThe primary intent of hospice is to care for every person with dementia individually. Hospice experts will listen to patients and the opinions of their family members to acknowledge the best way to improve their quality of life. And while working with a family or the patient, the team becomes a part of the person’s life.
SecurityWith hospice care, a family can rest assured that they will get medical support whenever their ailing loved one needs it.
Peace of mindA team of specially trained individuals, including doctors, counselors, and nurses, provide hospice care. The care team offers medical care to minimize pain and symptoms using medicines and medical equipment. Counseling is even a part of the caring process. And finally, hospice care serves as a grief support for the family and enables family caregivers’ relief.
Reduce the stress of repeated hospitalizationPeople with dementia can get severely ill in the final stages of the disease. Eventually, they are likely to undergo repeated hospitalization. And hospice care usually proves to be beneficial in it. A study showed that terminally ill patients not enrolled in hospice are more likely to be hospitalized in the last days of life than patients enrolled in hospice.
The final months of a dementia patient’s life are crucial for the patient and family. A battle of hard decisions and strong emotions goes on. In such a scenario, talking about hospice with your ill loved one can be hard.
But hospice might be the only thing they need in their last days. Hospice will let them be in the comfort of home, utilize as much spiritual or emotional support as they need, and provide round-the-clock medical service.