VITAS Care Model for Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia
What Does Hospice Treatment for Alzheimer’s and Dementia Involve?
The VITAS care model for patients with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia focuses on relieving pain, managing difficult symptoms (e.g. agitation, aggression, restlessness, anxiety, sleep disturbances, etc.) and complications, improving quality of life, and providing a much needed additional layer of support for patients and their families.
In the absence of curative therapies for the cognitive and physical decline associated with Alzheimer’s and related dementias, hospice care focuses on helping to support a patient’s functional and cognitive abilities as each continues to deteriorate as part of natural disease progression, along with the assessment and management of common disease-related complications.
VITAS care plans address difficulty eating/swallowing, deteriorating nutritional status, recurrent infections including pneumonia/aspiration pneumonia, urinary tract, and sepsis, pressure sores, fever, hip and other bone fractures, and increasing confusion/delirium.
VITAS develops tailored plans of care for the many forms of dementia including:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Vascular dementia
- Lewy body disease
- Frontotemporal lobar degeneration
- Mixed dementia (multiple etiologies exist)
- Parkinson’s disease dementia
Care includes 24/7 clinical support and care provided in the patient’s/family’s preferred setting. Through regularly scheduled visits, members of an interdisciplinary care team provide clinical and psychosocial support to address the patient’s and family’s needs.
Complex Modalities for Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia
VITAS has the resources and expertise to provide complex modalities in any care setting, including a patient’s home, nursing facility, assisted living facility, residential care facility for the elderly, or inpatient bed.
- Oral and parenteral antibiotics to fight infections (e.g., pneumonia, skin, and urinary tract infections)
- Nutritional counseling and PEG tube management
- Specialized mattresses and wound care
- Goals-of-care conversations, including those related to artificial nutrition/hydration and do-not-resuscitate decisions
- Pharmacological and non-pharmacological management of behavioral and psychological symptoms (anxiety, agitation, terminal restlessness, delirium)
- Therapy services, including PT/OT/Speech to help meet the patient’s unique needs near the end of life
- Alternative therapies such as massage, music, reminiscence, and paw pals, to further support quality of life
Oversight by Dedicated Physicians
VITAS care plans are overseen by our 700+ physicians, more than 50 of whom are board certified in hospice and palliative medicine.
They oversee integration with patients' primary care physicians, home visits, goals-of-care conversations, specialist consults, medication reconciliation, and palliative care.
Home Medical Equipment and Supplies
VITAS maintains its own home medical equipment (HME) division, enabling 24/7 delivery of equipment and supplies to support the patient’s Alzheimer’s/dementia care plan in their preferred setting.
The following supplies and equipment can be delivered to your patient in any setting:
- Hospital bed and specialized mattresses
- Activities of Daily Living (ADL) assist devices, such as walkers, bedside commodes, over-bed tables, and patient safety lifts
- Incontinence supplies
- Wound care supplies
- Oxygen and non-invasive ventilation devices
If your patient is ready for hospice, VITAS is ready to help. Refer your patient to VITAS today and you'll hear from an admission specialist in minutes. We’re always available.