Advanced Dementia

One or any combination of any of the following signs may indicate that dementia has progressed to a point where all involved would likely benefit from hospice care:

  • Progression of the dementia
  • Requires assistance for ambulation, dressing and bathing
  • Urinary and bowel incontinence
  • Speaks six words or less, no consistent meaningful conversation
  • Unintentional, progressive weight loss greater than 10 percent of body weight in the past six months or albumin level less than 2.5gm/dl
  • Recurrent infections, such as pneumonia, UTI or pressure ulcers
  • Frequent falls

Your patients may have priorities and goals aside from living longer. Talk with your patients about their health goals, fears and trade-offs of treatment. To help you determine if it’s time to recommend hospice care, ask your patients the following questions:

  1. What is your understanding of your health or your condition?
  2. What are your goals if your health worsens?
  3. What are your fears?
  4. What trade-offs are you willing to make and not willing to make?

Hospice care can help your patients, and you. We can help you determine if your patient qualifies for hospice care, or introduce the topic with your patients. Please use this information as a guideline. If you have questions about the medical guidelines for hospice care or a specific patient, please contact us online or call (800) 237-4629.