NHPCO’s Lund Person Speaks at Alzheimer’s Association Conference in Chicago

(Alexandria, Va) - The Alzheimer's Association released its third set of recommendations on improving care for people with Alzheimer's and other dementias - this set of recommendations focuses on care at the end of life.   Dementia Care Practice Recommendations for Assisted Living Residences and Nursing Homes, offers concrete suggestions for addressing issues unique to people with dementia at the end of their lives.

The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization is one of many national organizations supporting these recommendations. NHPCO extends its thanks to the Alzheimer's Association for addressing the needs of people at life's end and applauds its collaborative efforts in this ongoing work.

This new set of recommendations was released today at the Alzheimer's Association's 15th annual Dementia Care Conference being held in Chicago where Judi Lund Person, NHPCO vice president for quality, was a panelist at the opening plenary session.

"The mission of the Alzheimer's Association is consistent with that of NHPCO. Everyone living with Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia should be confident they will receive compassionate, quality care at the end of their lives," remarked Lund Person.

Key aspects of the recommendations include:

  • The need for advance care planning as soon as possible after diagnosis of dementia. This includes documenting the person's wishes regarding medical treatments in advanced stages of dementia and designation of a proxy decision-maker.
  • Provision of person-centered palliative care to people with advanced dementia.
  • The importance of dementia-specific training for residential care workers on end-of-life issues - for example, signs of dying, pain management issues, and communicating with families.

The recommendations published by the Alzheimer's Association will be shared by NHPCO at its upcoming Clinical Team Conference in New Orleans set to begin November 29.  Additionally, NHPCO staff and its dementia work group are reviewing criteria for hospice eligibility for people with dementia as first published in Medical Guidelines for Determining Prognosis in Selected Non Cancer Diseases (NHPCO, 1996).

"It's important that we provide practical tools and approaches to help providers implement the valuable recommendations that have been published by the Alzheimer's Association," Lund Person stated. "Also of importance is making sure that people living at home, outside of nursing facilities, find high-quality end-of-life care when it's needed. Hospice and palliative care providers at all levels must make sure they understand how to serve this growing population."

For more information on the Phase 3 Recommendations, visit http://www.alz.org/.

Resources to help families with advance care planning - as suggested by the Phase 3 Recommendations - are available from NHPCO's Caring Connections. For state-specific advance directive forms and informational brochures, visit http://www.caringinfo.org/ or contact the HelpLine at 1-800-658-8898.