More than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, while more than 15 million family caregivers provide unpaid support to their loved ones.
In the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, people may forget things or have problems finding words. They can still work independently, but they will have more problems planning and organizing.
As a person reaches the moderate or middle stage, they will require increased care. During this time, the individual’s memory loss and perplexity become increasingly severe. They may be unable to recall names and be unsure of their location. Some individuals at this juncture may require assistance remembering to dress for the weather. There will be alterations in sleeping habits and personality. This stage is typically the oldest, lasting several years on average.
In the final stages of dementia, patients will require 24-hour assistance with activities of daily living. They lose awareness of recent events and their surroundings, and their communication difficulties increase. Late-stage Alzheimer’s patients become susceptible to infections, particularly pneumonia. During the final stages of dementia, caretakers must anticipate their loved one’s needs, as they may forget how to swallow or suck from a straw.
Families sometimes don’t know when their loved one meets hospice eligibility standards for dementia due to the gradual progression of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Hospice care is available to patients with any number of symptoms. Please check the list of typical symptoms to discover if your loved one has any and decide on future steps.
Dementia Eligibility Criteria for Hospice Care
Hospice eligibility requires a dementia patient to have a life expectancy of six months or less if the condition progresses normally. Hospice may be an option for individuals with dementia as their condition deteriorates. Among the most important factors to consider are:
- Having cancer, COPD, CHF, or congenital heart disease.
- Increased hospitalizations, ER visits, and doctor visits.
- A diagnosis of pneumonia or peritonitis.
- Weight loss or dehydration caused by eating and drinking difficulties
- Daily speech is limited to no more than six syllables.
- Swallowing difficulty or gagging on liquids or food
- Constipation and urinary incontinence
- Incapable of sitting erect without armrests on chairs, or prone to slipping out of chairs and requiring special seating.
- Incapable of walking without the aid of a walker or necessitating a wheelchair.
- Unable to recline without assistance (will collapse without support).
- Not able to grin anymore.
Dementia Symptom Management
Melodia Hospice tailors interdisciplinary treatment to each patient’s requirements. Our team provides medical care to relieve symptoms like pain and anxiety and personal care to help caregivers retain the patient’s dignity towards the end of life for people with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias.
Hospice provides complimentary incontinence items, hospital beds, wheelchairs, and medication linked to the patient’s primary diagnosis. The patient won’t need to go to the pharmacy or investigate medical supply providers because these items will be provided as needed.
In addition, our team of specialists in emotional and spiritual assistance offers instruction and support to family members who are providing care for a loved one. This involves providing aid in arranging respite care as well as providing volunteers to sit with the patient so that family members can take a break without being concerned about the patient’s welfare. The members of our staff are trained to provide families with assistance in the areas of end-of-life planning, funeral arrangement, and grief care.
Melodia hospice care is available to collaborate with other facilities that provide care for patients who are already getting care, such as in memory care units or other long-term care facilities. This allows Melodia to provide an additional layer of one-on-one care and attention to patients who are already receiving care elsewhere. This includes providing the patient with complementary therapies and activities to supplement the clinical and personal care that they are receiving, such as reading to the patient or playing music for the patient, giving the patient foot massages, or engaging in aromatherapy.
Our mission is to improve the quality of life for patients at the end stage of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias who also meet the criteria outlined above for hospice care. This includes making the most of the patient’s lucid moments and ensuring that the patient is comfortable and pain-free even when they are no longer able to communicate their requirements.
For Primary Care Physicians
Melodia Hospice is your partner in supporting people with late-stage Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, we accept new patients. Our pain and symptom management experts will help you, the patient, and their family make the hospice transition as smooth as possible.
Does your patient not qualify for hospice dementia? Palliative care may be worth considering. Our palliative care team assists physicians in treating symptoms, side effects, discomfort, and family concerns. Our staff offers you an extra set of well-trained eyes and ears in the patient’s home surroundings and alerts you to any changes in the patient’s condition.
When to Contact the Hospice
Family members may have trouble determining when a patient qualifies for hospice care due to the slow progression of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. This is why hospice should be discussed at an early stage. Thus, you will have a plan in place if the hospice eligibility requirements for dementia are met.
Melodia hospice care is available to evaluate the patient in their home environment (home, hospital, assisted living facility), etc. to determine if they satisfy the dementia hospice care requirements. We are delighted to meet with families at their most convenient time and location.
To schedule a consultation for hospice care, please call 1-888-635-6347. Our team is available to receive your call around the clock.