Dementia, a general term for any kind of progressive brain disease that causes a ’chronic or persistent decline in mental processes’ is especially difficult to for patients and caregivers to live and cope with. With late-stage symptoms including significant memory loss, difficulty concentrating, decreased mobility, and impaired communication, it is easy to see why dementia is so challenging and stressful for caregivers to manage on their own.
Fortunately, there is a better way. With hospice care, patients receive 24-hour access to the physical, emotional and spiritual care they need, while their caregivers can get the consistent help, support and respite care they deserve. In this article, learn more about the benefits of hospice care for dementia patients, and find out how it can benefit you and your loved one.
Hospice Care For Dementia Patients: What Is It?
Hospice care is a specialized form of care for dementia patients who are expected to have 6 months or less to live. In an effort to attend to their psychological, emotional and spiritual needs as much as their physical ailments, hospice strives to enhance the quality of life for patients and their families.
Made up of a multidisciplinary team of medical, psychosocial and spiritual professionals, hospice is comprised of teams who will work together to take active steps to provide holistic care for your loved one, and to support you as a caregiver. Moreover, a community of hospice nurses and volunteers will offer comprehensive, around-the-clock support and guidance for your loved one, while giving you ample time to live, cope and support yourself throughout this difficult time.
Benefits Of At-Home Hospice Care For Dementia Patients
In late-stage dementia, individuals will commonly lose nearly all recent memories, have difficulty completing seemingly simple activities, and will become increasingly frail, often losing their ability to walk, stand or get up from a chair or bed. This often requires 24-hour assistance with daily living (having someone to constantly monitor them, help them move around the home, use the restroom, and administer medications). Hospice care can provide a team of coordinated hospice care specialists to ensure that they are cared for, and that the constant burden of caregiving does not fall on one person alone.
Hospice care also provides the following services which can further benefit you and your loved one:
As dementia progresses, it often becomes hard for patients with dementia to express and manage their needs on their own. With hospice care, a team of professional caregivers including physicians, nurses, social workers and other specialists, will consistently monitor your loved one’s needs, and ensure that they are readily attended to. Hospice teams will also work together to design a holistic plan that addresses your loved one’s pain, hydration and nutrition levels, skin care, and psychological well being. They will also administer and supply all medication, supplies and equipment to ensure that your loved one has everything they need.
’Basic activities of daily living,’ or ADLs, are general self-care tasks such as walking, eating, dressing, grooming, toileting, bathing and moving around the home. ADLs are rudimentary tasks that we initially learn as young children, that unfortunately become gradually more difficult for patients suffering from dementia, often being a cause for significant distress. Hospice provides highly-trained nurses and aides who will assist your loved one in performing these essential tasks in the comfort of their home, with the utmost dignity and respect.
24/7 Caregiver Respite/On-Call Care
Hospice care provides a variety of support services for patients and their caregivers to ensure that dementia patients always have access to the care they need. This includes preparation of meals (shopping, cooking, and feeding), transportation (to doctors appointments, etc.) or even assistance with other necessary errands such as house-cleaning or managing and administering medications. 24/7 support also means that caregivers can take a break from caregiving, and attend to other obligations or commitments that they may have, when they need it. This can give you ample time to maintain other relationships, hold a job, nurture your health or do things that you find relaxing or personally meaningful.
In addition to assisting in the day-to-day tasks of providing care and assistance, hospice care professionals will also recognize the signs of final-stage dementia and assist you throughout the dying process. As your loved one’s individual needs change, hospice nurses will modify their medication and health care plans to ensure that they are free of pain and distress. Aids will assist them in around-the-clock feeding, bathing, personal care, while social workers and chaplains will be available to help you and your family cope and attend to your emotional and spiritual wellbeing.
Speak to Harbor Light Hospice For More Information
Interested in learning more about the benefits of hospice care for dementia patients and their family members? Contact Harbor Light Hospice today to learn more about our at-home, in-patient and nursing home hospice care services, and see if it’s a viable option for your loved one. Our hospice care program provides comprehensive care services for all kinds of dementia patients, regardless of their stage of illness. Discover how our caring and responsive hospice care team and extensive network of on-call volunteer staff can make life better for you and your loved one today!