This week’s tip has been adapted with permission from the VITAS Hospice publication entitled Clinical Appropriateness: Alzheimer’s Disease.
Alzheimer’s disease, which accounts for more than 50 percent of all dementia cases, generally progresses in a linear fashion over an average of seven to ten years, but may be much longer in some instances. A person transitions through several stages of deterioration and the essential skills acquired in the first years of life are lost. These include the ability to respond or speak coherently; to walk and sit up; to control the bowels and bladders; even swallowing becomes impaired.
Residents are eligible for hospice care when a physician makes a clinical determination that life expectancy is six months or less. VITAS suggests residents with dementia be evaluated for hospice if they:
- Can say only a few words
- Are dependent on others for all activities of daily living
- Are no longer ambulatory
- Have been through a lengthy period of decline lasting several years