My FIL was recently transferred from his AD lockdown unit to a regular nursing home nearer to us. He is in a wheelchair so there was no longer a need for a lockdown unit. His dementia is stroke-related and there really has not been much of a change in the past six months. He rarely speaks and just stares at us when we visit.
Yesterday, the nursing home administrator informed us he has been evaluated and is eligible for hospice care inside the nursing home. From what I have read, hospice is usually available only when the patient is not expected to live for another six months. He is 85-years-old and is being treated for high blood pressure, but still eats in the lunchroom and is alert so I don't understand the evaluation. The administrator said that Medicare will cover the hospice costs, but I am uncertain exactly what benefit hospice would be at this point. He is in no pain.
Is this normal procedure when someone is in the last stage of dementia? My 94-year-old father is also in the same nursing home. He is eligible for hospice as well and I can see that because he is having difficulty eating. He is weakening each day and aspirating his food so I really don't expect him to make it much longer. Got to go, I feel a crying spell coming on.
Hi Jane. Hospice has changed a lot in the last few years. It used to be that hospice was called in when death was very near. Now, patients and families can receive help from hospice for however long they need it. In fact, the family can receive supportive services for a least a year after the patient's passing. Being eligible for hospice means that the patient will have more one on one care. This will help your FIL and the nursing staff immensely. They will also be there to listen to you and your family's concerns and help with your needs.
Call your local hospice and ask questions. I think it'll ease your concerns and you'll find that this can be a good thing.
Unfortunately, dementia and AD do end the lives of those we love. But there are things we can do to ease the transition and I think hospice is one of those things.
So far we have not used the services of Hospic for Mom or Dad but I do believe Dementia has special guidelines. If the patient is suffering from late stages of Dementia or has other complications they can qualify for help several hours a day through Hospic even if they are not within that 6 month window. It was an option we were investigating before Mom and Dad moved to Assisted Living. I have learned, the more help the better.
I am truly sorry for your situation. I know draining it can be to have two loved ones with this horrible disease. My thoughts and prayers go out to you.
Thank you, for your responses. I guess I am wondering what benefits there would be for my FIL to have hospice care in the nursing home other than some of the drugs that hospice would prescribe could be paid through Medicare. We will talk with the hospice personnel to see exactly how the care would differ from the care he is now receiving from nursing home personnel.
My father does not have dementia. In fact, he is still mentally sharp at age 94. His body is simply giving out and he was hospitalized today for aspiration pneumonia. He will definitely be placed under hospice care if he survives. I think he is going through the late stage of Parkinson's Disease.
My father went on hospice - it was additional care on top of what the nursing home provided. The hospice staff visited almost every day - they gave him extra baths and "looked out" for him with a different agenda than the nursing home did. They provided a large recliner chair on wheels - that the nursing home didn't really want him to have.
Understand that hospice also means they aren't going to be very agressive with certain medical issues. He got all his regular medications, when he got a UTI he got medication for that, of course he would have been treated if he broke his arm or something. But, if he was complaining of chest pains he would have been given some anti anti anxiety medication and some pain killers and that would have been it, no trip to the hospital.
I appreciated the care they provided, and I was realistic to know that another trip to the hospital was the last thing my Dad needed.