Tag Archives: Alzheimer’s

Why Hospice?


  1. Because your loved one, even if he or she is bedridden, would prefer to be at home instead of in a hospital.
  2. Because the top priority of hospice care is patient comfort including relief from pain.
  3. Because going on hospice does not mean giving up.
  4. Because hospice focuses on the quality of a patient’s remaining time, instead of continuing treatments to prolong life.
  5. Because hospice team members guide family members and/or private care personnel on proper caregiving for each individual patient.
  6. Because hospice patients, on average, live longer than those who are not on hospice. This result has been repeated by numerous studies.
  7. Because hospice care includes necessary medical equipment such as oxygen, hospital beds, wheelchairs, etc.
  8. Because spiritual and emotion support is available to the patient and family members.
  9. Because hospice is fully covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most insurance plans.
  10. Because hospice is not just for the last few days of a person’s life.
  11. Because hospice is not just for cancer patients. While hospice provides care for many cancer patients, people with other life-limiting conditions such as Alzheimer’s, renal failure, congestive heart failure may also be eligible for hospice.
  12. Because hospice care is delivered with compassion.

For information about hospice care in metro St. Louis, please call Hope Hospice at 314-984-9800.

(photo credit:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/44124395312@N01/442372023, via http://photopin.com,  https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/)


November—Time To Learn About Hospice


November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, a time to call attention to hospice care in America and the people and organizations that provide that care. Hospice education is an ongoing effort. We at Hope Hospice take every opportunity we can to reach out to the St. Louis community and explain what hospice is and what it is not.

It is encouraging that information and knowledge about hospice is growing. More people have had a relative or friend on hospice care. We find, though, that as more people learn about hospice, misconceptions continue to exist.

Among the biggest misconceptions:

Hospice is a place. While in-patient hospice facilities do exist, almost all hospice care in the U.S. is administered in private homes and in care centers (nursing homes and assisted living facilities).

Hospice is only for the very last days of life. When a determination is made that a person has a life expectancy of 6 months or less, a patient can become eligible for hospice care. Because prognoses can be imprecise, many patients stay on hospice care for more than 6 month.

Hospice care is expensive. Hospice care is a fully-covered Medicare benefit.

Hospice is only for cancer patients. Many hospice patients ARE cancer patients. But other patients have conditions ranging from Alzheimer’s to congestive heart failure to kidney failure.

If a patient lives beyond the initial 6-month period, he or she will be dropped from hospice care. After 6-months, a patient must be recertified. If life expectancy is still 6 months or less, hospice care can continue.

A patient can only receive hospice care from a hospice that he or she is referred to. Families and patients may prefer another hospice, based on recommendations from friends, family and neighbors. There are significant differences among hospices.

The only reason to go on hospice is to get pain medication. A major goal of hospice care is to assure a patient’s comfort. But hospice care is a complete team program that includes spiritual and emotional components. It’s not just about the meds.

Again, the sentences above in bold face are misconceptions. During this month, we encourage you to take time to learn more about hospice care.

In metro St. Louis, call us at Hope Hospice for questions and concerns about hospice care. Reach us at 314-984-9800.


Hospice Care and Alzheimer’s

For Americans age 65 and older, Alzheimer’s is the fifth leading cause of death.

Because Alzheimer’s generally develops over a period of time, a patient with an early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s may not qualify for hospice care. But when a patient reaches the later stages of Alzheimer’s and a doctor determines that a patient has six months or less to live, hospice care can play an important role for patients and their families.

Today’s Geriatric Medicine, in an article posted on its website, points out that “hospice is underutilized for advanced dementia patients.” The main reason? “End-of-life prognostication presents a significant barrier to hospice usage.” In other words, it may be harder for a doctor to make the “six months or less” assessment with an Alzheimer’s patient.

The article quotes geriatric care manager Joan Wright who says, “Emotions remain within the dementia patient long after other aspects of that person are lost. Hospice responds to those emotions, and the dementia patient responds in turn. Ensuring a peaceful environment and a dignified death is what hospice does best for dementia patients.”

In her recent book about Alzheimer’s, Slow Dancing With A Stranger, Meryl Comer mentions the early misdiagnoses of her husband’s Alzheimer’s. They ranged from Lyme disease to anemia to Mad Cow disease. (Her husband is currently in hospice care at home.)

Regarding his Alzheimer’s, she writes, “”The man I live with is not the man I fell in love with and married. He has slowly been robbed of what we all take for granted—the ability to navigate the mundane activities of daily living: bathing, shaving, dressing, feeding, and using the bathroom.”

In the book, she expresses distress that not only is there no cure for Alzheimer’s, there are no disease-modifying drugs or treatments.

Research to find cures and treatments for Alzheimer’s is continuing. Some of the funding for that research is collected via events like the Walk To End Alzheimer’s, set for Saturday, September 27, at St. Charles Community College in St. Peters. The Hope Hospice team will participate. If you’d like to help, click HERE for more information.

For questions about hospice care in metro St. Louis, call us at Hope Hospice at 314-984-9800.



The STL Walk to End Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s Disease has become more familiar to Americans in recent years, perhaps due to news of well-known Americans who have been affected by the disease. Alzheimer’s victims include Ronald Reagan, Rita Hayworth and Charlton Heston. Recently, singer Glen Campbell was diagnosed.

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia. It is a condition that gradually worsens. It generally affects those over the age of 65, but can also occur in younger adults. Memory loss is just part of Alzheimer’s. This disease of the brain eventually affects bodily functions and leads to death.

The St. Louis chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association is holding its 2013 Walk to End Alzheimer’s on Saturday, August 31, 8:00 a.m., starting at Busch Stadium. Hope Hospice will be a sponsor and an active participant in the Walk. Many of our staff and volunteers will be walking. Some will be greeting walkers at our Memory Wall.

You are invited to take a moment and sign the wall and write a short note about a person in whose memory you may be walking. Look for our Memory Wall at 18th and Olive in St. Louis.

Alzheimer’s research continues with the goal of finding more ways to treat the disease. Of course, the ultimate goal of this research is to discover a cure.

The Alzheimer’s Association helps fund research. The group also provides information about Alzheimer’s for patients, families and medical personnel. Our team at Hope Hospice has benefitted from knowledge the group freely shares.

We encourage you to Walk to End Alzheimer’s this Saturday. Click HERE to sign up. You can start a team, join a team or walk as an individual. If you are unable to walk on Saturday, you can walk virtually. There is no fee to register for the walk but this is a fundraising event and your contribution will be appreciated.

See you there this weekend!