Hospice has long been known for the ability to provide comfort and
dignity throughout the dying process. Sadly, too few people are aware
that a person does not have to be dying from cancer or experiencing
excruciating pain in order to take advantage of end-of-life care.
Hospice care is effective for patients suffering from a wide variety of
chronic conditions, including heart failure, chronic obstructive
pulmonary disease (COPD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), stroke,
renal failure, liver failure and even dementia.
other serious illnesses, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and related dementias
are extremely difficult to categorize into the neat stages of
progression that are typically used to determine whether hospice care is
appropriate. Life expectancy is difficult, if not impossible, to
pinpoint for patients affected by AD or other forms of cognitive
impairment, such as vascular dementia, Lewy Body dementia and
frontotemporal dementia. Furthermore, patients in the later stages of
these conditions are usually unable to communicate
pain, discomfort, wants and needs. This means that family caregivers
and even their loved ones’ physicians can have a tough time deciding
when to call in hospice.
Carol Bradley Bursack, Minding Our Elders | Updated July 24, 2018