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Hospice of the Midwest Blog

Hospice for Patients with Parkinson’s Disease

Hospice Care for Patients with Parkinson’s Disease: A Beneficial Option for Advanced Stages

The Basics:

  • Parkinson’s disease (PD) can significantly impact quality of life in advanced stages, with increased symptom complexity and functional decline.
  • While curative therapies aren’t available, hospice care offers an alternative focused on comfort, symptom management, and holistic support for patients and families.

Benefits of Hospice for PD Patients:

  • Expert Pain and Symptom Management:
    • Specialized team addresses unique challenges like pain, dysphagia, fatigue, agitation, and respiratory issues.
    • Expertise in managing Parkinson’s-specific symptoms like medication-resistant tremor and freezing episodes.
    • 24/7 access to symptom management and crisis intervention, reducing hospital admissions.
  • Focus on Holistic Care:
    • Addresses emotional and spiritual needs through counseling, chaplaincy services, and volunteer support.
    • Provides practical support for caregivers through respite care, education, and bereavement counseling.
    • Respects cultural and religious preferences in end-of-life care decisions.
  • Maintaining Control and Dignity:
    • Patients can choose their preferred setting: home, nursing home, or the place they call home.
    • Care focuses on maximizing autonomy and respecting individual choices regarding treatment and care preferences.
    • Open communication promotes informed decision-making for patients and families.

Addressing Potential Concerns:

  • “Hospice means giving up.”: Hospice focuses on comfort and quality of life, not hastening death. It can be integrated with ongoing therapies as appropriate.
  • “My patient is too early for hospice.”: Early referral allows symptom management and support services to improve quality of life sooner.
  • “Family isn’t ready.”: Early discussions and family education facilitate acceptance and understanding.

Collaboration and Communication:

  • Open communication and coordination between physician, hospice team, and patient ensure seamless care transitions.
  • Physicians can provide valuable insights into disease progression and symptom management to aid the hospice team.
  • Regular communication updates keep physicians informed about patient progress and potential needs.

Resources for Physicians:

Hospice care offers significant benefits for patients with advanced PD, providing expert symptom management, holistic support, and respect for patient autonomy. An early referral can enhance quality of life and support families during this sensitive phase. Collaboration between physicians and the hospice team optimizes care transitions and ensures informed decision-making for patients and families.

Please contact us to learn more about how we can support you and your patients who need the extra level of care that hospice provides.

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