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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Late Stage and End-of-life Care: Caregiving in the Final Stages of Life.

Inputs useful for every diseases at the late stages including Alzheimer's Disease : 


"Late Stage and End-of-life Care

CAREGIVING IN THE FINAL STAGES OF LIFE


"In the final stages of many terminal illnesses, care priorities tend to shift. Instead of ongoing curative measures, the focus often changes to palliative care for the relief of pain, symptoms, and emotional stress. The complex and often disorderly progression of terminal diseases such as Alzheimer’s requires complete care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, which can be uniquely challenging for caregivers.
Ensuring a loved one’s final months, weeks, or days are as good as they can be requires more than just a series of resource and care choices. Learning to anticipate the specific demands of end-of-life caregiving can help ease the journey from care and grief towards acceptance and healing."


Caregiving in the final stages of life

While the symptoms in the final stages of life vary from patient to patient and according to the life-limiting illness, there are some common symptoms experienced near the end of life that caregivers can provide comfort for. It’s important to remember, though, that experiencing any of these symptoms does not necessarily indicate that the patient’s condition is deteriorating or that death is close.


"Common Symptoms in End-of-Life Care :

Symptom & How to provide comfort


Drowsiness: Plan visits and activities for times when the patient is most alert.

Becoming unresponsive :Many patients are still able to hear after they are no longer able to speak, so talk as if he or she can hear.

Confusion about time, place, identity of loved ones: Speak calmly to help to re-orient the patient. Gently remind the patient of the time, date, and people who are with them.

Loss of appetite, decreased need for food and fluids : Let the patient choose if and when to eat or drink. Ice chips, water, or juice may be refreshing if the patient can swallow. Keep the patient's mouth and lips moist with products such as glycerin swabs and lip balm.

Loss of bladder or bowel control : Keep the patient as clean, dry, and comfortable as possible. Place disposable pads on the bed beneath the patient and remove them when they become soiled.

Skin becoming cool to the touch: Warm the patient with blankets but avoid electric blankets or heating pads, which can cause burns.

Labored, irregular, shallow, or noisy breathing : Breathing may be easier if the patient's body is turned to the side and pillows are placed beneath the head and behind the back. A cool mist humidifier may also help."



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Late Stage and End-of-life Care: Caregiving in the Final Stages of Life