Care and Neurogenerative Diseases

BY: Dr. Charles Wellman

CATEGORY: Medical and Clinical
PUBLICATION: Clinical Connections

wellman-homepage.jpgLet's take a closer look at the benefits of palliative and hospice care for patients with advanced neurodegenerative diseases. While diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, multiple sclerosis, and Huntington's disease have diverse pathologies and trajectories, all are associated with a complex range of symptoms that lead to progressive physical decline and the potential for high levels of prolonged suffering.

Patients have several common care needs, and their caregivers experience an extraordinary degree of stress. Earlier in the course of disease, palliative care used in conjunction with disease modifying treatments is effective in treating the full range of symptoms, and in establishing a transdisciplinary model of care that will remain in place through the entire course of the illness.

In the final stages of the diseases, when the prognosis is measured in months rather than years, transitioning into hospice provides the same intricate web of physical, psychosocial and spiritual support needed to relieve symptoms, maximize patient dignity and choice, and improve quality of life for both the patient and the family.

As the number of Americans living with serious illnesses continues to climb, hospice care makes it possible for individuals to have a choice in how they spend the final stage of their life. They are able to remain in their own homes, if they prefer, surrounded by their family and friends.

Whether measured in terms of the patient's quality of life and family satisfaction or savings in health care costs, palliative and hospice care play integral roles in delivering care through the full spectrum of life.

Your partner in care,

Dr. Charles Wellman
Chief Medical Officer, Hospice of the Western Reserve

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