What Is Palliative Care For Alzheimer's, And How Can I And My Loved One With Alzheimer's Benefit From Palliative Care?

Dr. Mohana Karlekar answers: 'What is Palliative Care for Alzheimer's?'

May 4, 2009 -- Question: What is palliative care with respect to Alzheimer's disease, and how can I and my loved one with Alzheimer's benefit from palliative care?

Answer: So, palliative care is multidisciplinary care, which means care from nurses, doctors, social workers, chaplains, and supporting the whole person and their family. And that's very different from just a regular doctor's visit where we focus on the patient.

Alzheimer's disease puts a great burden on families in terms of the emotional stress, watching someone change and regress, and it's very hard to see. It is stressful, there's a high degree of burnout, and there's a high amount of symptoms that go along with what patients experience.

So palliative care can help with those symptoms specifically for the patients. They'll support the caregiver so they're not burning out. And they'll make sure, most importantly, that the patient is ultimately going to get the medical plan, that the goal that they want moving forward and not end up having just a part of their body being treated and losing the side of the whole big picture.