Benefits of palliative care

Nearly half of all people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias are in hospice care at the time of their death. Less than half of surveyed nursing homes have some sort of palliative care program. For people with advanced dementia, such care (which focuses on managing and easing symptoms, reducing pain and stress, and increasing comfort) improves quality of life, controls costs, and enhances patient and family satisfaction.

As a nurse, I have cared for many patients with Alzheimer’s. During my career, I have found not only do patients with Alzheimer’s need care, but their families need support as they cope with such a devastating disease. Having compassionate, qualified caregivers for their loved ones eases families’ minds during this difficult time.

As the demand for such care grows with the aging population, more must be done to ensure an adequately trained workforce. I encourage you to join me in thanking Congressman Hal Rogers for recently becoming a cosponsor of the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA). (S. 693 /H.R. 1676).

If passed, PCHETA would increase palliative care and hospice training for health care professionals, launch a national campaign to inform patients and families about the benefits of palliative care, and enhance research on improving the delivery of palliative care.

To learn more and take action, call 1-800-272-3900 or visit alz.org.

Rita Gilbert

Alzheimer’s Association Advocate