Hospice Care to Support Late-Stage Alzheimer’s Disease
If you are a Michigan caregiver of a loved one living with Alzheimer’s, you know firsthand the debilitating toll this disease takes. With the number of people living with the Alzheimer’s disease climbing higher every day it is important for family caregivers to know about hospice eligibility.
Alzheimer’s Disease and End of Life Care
Many caregivers know that hospice care can improve the quality of life for those with end stage Alzheimer’s disease. The challenge comes in determining when they are eligible. Because the disease is so physically debilitating as it progresses, families often struggle with knowing where their loved one is in the disease process and if they are eligible yet. Even physicians aren’t always clear on what qualifies a person with Alzheimer’s disease for hospice.
In general, you can ask yourself the following questions to determine if a Michigan senior loved one is eligible for the added benefit of hospice care:
- Have they had a 10% or greater weight loss in the last 6 months?
- Have they experienced a number of falls or are they unable to walk without assistance?
- Is their ability to communicate verbally impaired?
- Are they incontinent of bowel or bladder?
These questions often provide families with a place to begin in determining whether or not a loved one with dementia may be eligible for care under the Medicare guidelines.
The Services Hospice Brings to an Assisted Living Community
If a senior loved one lives in an assisted living community, hospice can come to them when they are eligible for care. The Medicare Hospice entitles them to a variety of services, the medications that are related to the life-limiting illness and any medical equipment needed to support the patient. The services hospice will bring to the resident of an assisted living community include:
- Skilled care of nurses and nurse aides
- Pain management
- Support to control symptoms
- Spiritual care to support the patient and family
- Social work services
- Alternative therapies such as massage, music and art
- Dietary counseling
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid have a put together a guide that explains the Medicare Hospice benefit in more detail. Download this publication to find the answers you need.