Though diseases such as Alzheimer’s or other dementias often progress slowly, they are very difficult to manage. Families caring for a loved one with dementia need a lot of support and assistance, and getting palliative care involved early is very beneficial.
More so with dementia than other diseases, Sincera’s care is as much about helping the family as it is about treating the patient. The team works in partnership with the physician who is managing the medical care, but also serves as a very valuable resource for family caregivers who experience extreme stress on a 24/7 basis.
In addition to patients’ fading memories, they may gradually experience the loss of hand-eye coordination, motor skills and the ability to dress, bathe and feed themselves. Often, they do not recognize hunger and thirst, and lose the ability to eat.
Unless clear medical directives have been established during the earliest stages of dementia, families often must face heartbreaking decisions when a patient can no longer eat. Frequently they must decide whether artificial feeding (through a tube to the stomach or a vein) is called for. Unfortunately, medical research shows that neither feeding method actually prolongs life and may even cause complications such as lung infections and pneumonia.
Another challenge for caregivers is that dementia is sometimes hard to see because it progresses slowly. Without even realizing it, caregivers begin to do more and more, and then become exhausted. Statistics show that people who are taking care of loved ones with dementia have a much higher risk of getting sick themselves—and even dying—compared to those not providing such care.
The Sincera team can help with in-depth communication and support. And team members are all highly trained in helping patients and families alike deal with the complex health care system.