An initiative of the Massachusetts Councils on Aging

Healthcare Throughout the Continuum

A healthcare treatment plan should reflect the changing needs of the individual with dementia.  Informed person-centered care means that the person is valued and their care network is regularly evaluating their health status.   Doctors, nurses, hospital employees, family members, in-home or residential care professionals, family and care partners, and pharmacists can all contribute to promoting a high quality of life for the person experiencing cognitive change.

Talk to your doctor.  Recognizing dementia in its early stages can lead to more intentional advance care planning and possible medical interventions to slow down the process of cognitive decline.  Learn more about different dementia diagnoses or call the 24-hour hotline of the Alzheimer’s Association at (800) 272-3900 to speak directly to a trained clinician.

Healthcare, financial, and legal decisions are often blended and indistinguishable in the process of advance care planning.  Conversations with family members, lawyers, and care providers should address such topics as the Massachusetts Medical Order for Life Sustaining Treatment, hospice care, and residential care options.  To guarantee that the health care choices of the individual with dementia are honored, it is imperative to have in writing their wishes and have a health care proxy who will advocate for them when they are no longer legally capable of making healthcare decisions.

While living at home, adults with dementia can receive help from a family member or care partner, or in-home care that can offer assistance with Activities of Daily Living and medication administration.  The level of care required may exceed what is provided by the hospital, community, or in-home services. At that time, other options, including transitioning to a residential care facility, may require consideration.

Dementia Friendly Healthcare Resources

DF America Sector Guide- Healthcare

AARP- Community and Health Services

AARP- Roadmap to Livability, Health Workbook

Alzheimer’s Association- End of Life Care for People with Dementia in Residential Care Settings

Alzheimer’s Association- End of Life Planning

Alzheimer’s Association- Quality of Care

Alzheimer’s Society- Dementia-Friendly Sports and Physical Activity Guide

Casner & Edwards- New Massachusetts Law Provides Broad Approach to Approach to Treating Those Suffering from Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Honoring Choices- Comfort Care/ Do Not Resuscitate Information

Justice in Aging- Training to Serve People with Dementia

Massachusetts Medical Order for Life Sustaining Treatment Information and Form

Massachusetts Medical Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment Presentation

Massachusetts Health Care Proxy Form

Memory and Aging Center- Medications & Dementia

Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders- NICHE training

University of California, San Francisco- Determining a Diagnosis

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