Palliative Care for Patients with Alzheimer's Dementia: Advance Care Planning Across Transition Points
Alzheimer’s Dementia (AD) is the most prevalent progressive neurodegenerative disease. It begins with minute memory impairment and ultimately leads to the loss of all mental and physical function. A person with AD lives an average of eight years from diagnosis and could live as many as 20 years (Odle, 2003 ). By the year 2000, there were about 4.5 million in the U.S. population with A.D, with one in 10 persons over the age of 65, and nearly half of those over 85 having AD By 2050, the number is projected to increase to 13.2 million (Hebert et al., 2003). Since there is no cure for AD, “persons with AD need interventions that are directed to relief of suffering, pain control, and comfort, often associated with ’palliative’ rather than . . . curative measures.’ This chapter is intended to assist health care administrators, health care planners, and public policy professionals to make policy decisions that may improve quality of life for those afflicted with AD and that may minimize the burden of care on family and loved ones. The authors trace the illness through transition points and discuss advance care planning and palliative care-focusing on issues specific to patients with AD.
KeywordsNursing Home Mild Cognitive Impairment Vascular Dementia Dementia Patient Advance Care Planning
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