by providing support and information about late-stage Alzheimer’s disease and end-of-
life resources. Some of the issues families may raise include:
The benefit of medications. While some medications can be useful in the early or middle stages of Alzheimer’s, their benefit is questionable in the late stage of the disease. Families may wonder whether they are prolonging their relative’s suffering by keeping them on an Alzheimer’s medication or drugs for concurrent conditions.
What services to use. It is difficult for caregivers and families to keep their loved ones at home during the late stage of Alzheimer’s disease without outside help. However, families may not understand all of the options available to them, including home health care, nursing home care, hospice care, and palliative care.
Legal aspects of end-of-life decisions. Family members might not be prepared for decisions about feeding tubes, resuscitation, and other interventions if they do not understand the procedures or know their loved one’s wishes.
A person in late-stage Alzheimer’s disease faces serious risks such as
malnutrition, bowel and bladder problems, immobility, infection and illness, pain, and
communication challenges. As a health care professional, you can take concrete steps
toward addressing these issues while nurturing a meaningful, personal connection with
those in the late stage of Alzheimer’s. You can also help caregivers and family members
in their decision making by providing support and information about late-stage
Alzheimer’s and the issues that accompany this difficult disease.