Health care providers throughout the United States are making a concerted effort to improve hospice care and palliative treatment in terminally ill patients with Alzheimer's disease. Palliative care is treatment designed to relieve or reduce the intensity of uncomfortable symptoms without trying to cure the underlying disease.
Palliative treatment may involve the use of medicines or surgery to control symptoms such as pain, nausea, and shortness of breath. The primary care doctor will help guide the patient through the critical transition to hospice care by providing best estimates for the chance of recovery, identifying situations where palliative care may be best, and at times, giving permission for the patient or loved ones to agree to forgo treatment.
For John MacInnes, the beginnings of Alzheimer’s disease were startling. The
retired executive and former pastor in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., first realized
something was wrong as he was delivering a PowerPoint presentation to a
community group. “Then in mid-sentence, I had problems,” he says. “I had a
well-rehearsed script in front of me, but I couldn’t get the words right,
couldn’t get them out. That kind of shook me up.”
Memory loss and impaired thinking are hallmark symptoms of this disease...
Once a patient agrees to make the transition from life-sustaining treatment to palliative care, a primary care doctor can provide symptom relief. A specialist with expertise in pain control also may assist the doctor.
Consult your doctor for more information about palliative treatment and hospice care.