Dementia is now the third-leading cause of death among Americans age 65 and older. Hospice of the Valley applies the principles of hospice care – comfort and dignity – to serve this growing patient population and their family caregivers. Our clinicians and services have won international recognition. We care for patients at all stages of the disease’s long continuum. Nearly 100,000 people in Arizona have dementia, which can last a decade or longer.
Palliative Care for Dementia
Persons with dementia who are not yet eligible for hospice services may enroll in the Palliative Care for Dementia program, which is funded through private payment from the patient/family at a monthly rate of $250 and grants. Services include home visits from dementia educators; 24/7 phone access to a nurse or social worker; phone consultations with Gillian Hamilton, MD, VP/education and innovation for Hospice of the Valley; and respite time for family caregivers provided by trained volunteers.
Dementia hospice program
Helping late-stage dementia patients maintain the best quality of life possible is challenging when they no longer can communicate their needs with words. Our staff developed and teaches strategies to determine and address those needs. They customize care to incorporate the patient’s lifelong preferences; utilize sensory stimulating and calming activities; and employ techniques to manage pain and depression. Family caregivers also are supported by the hospice team – doctor, nurse practitioner, nurse, nurse’s aide, social worker, chaplain and volunteer.
Gardiner Home is a palliative care unit in midtown Phoenix dedicated solely to caring for hospice dementia patients – believed to be a national first. Ten patients receive inpatient care from staff and volunteers with specialized expertise.
Healthcare provider and community education
Live presentations, e-learning modules and DVDs are offered to enhance knowledge of current dementia comfort care practices.
Maribeth Gallagher directs the Dementia Program. She is a psychiatric nurse practitioner with a doctoral degree in nursing practice. Maribeth has won national and international awards, been a featured speaker at professional conferences and is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing. She also has been a family caregiver. Reach the Dementia Program office at 602.636.6363.