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Deep Harbors for End Stage Dementia

An innovative program in person-center dementia care.

Beacon Hospice understands the challenges of managing end-stage dementia patients, and set out to find new approaches to providing resources, interventions, and assistance.

Almost half of Beacon Hospice patients have dementia as their primary diagnosis. Late and end-stage dementia patients qualify for hospice clinical care.

In the quest to provide an advanced level of care for late stage dementia patients, Beacon Hospice created Deep Harbors - an innovative, high quality approach designed to support patients, families, staff and physicians.

Beacon's new care program focuses on improved quality of life for the patient first and foremost, but also involves improved symptom management, and education, support and empowerment of the caregiver. Our experts utilize environmental intervention and preferred medication treatment algorithms. Staff members are trained in the following disciplines specifically for the dementia patient:
~ Skin assessment and protection
~ Hydration and nutrition with emphasis on swallowing assessment and feeding
~ Evaluation of environmental stressors
~ Spiritual support for the family with support groups
~ Education and empowerment of family caregivers

Beacon's algorithms and assessment tools help in evaluation both behavioral symptoms and the presences of pain, determining non-pharmacological protocols, such as music and touch interventions, to improve patient response.

The goal of algorithms - improved quality of life for both the patient and caregiver, as well as the management of behavioral symptoms - can be the most important interventions hospice care can provide for dementia patients. The behavioral assessment and treatment algorithms offer a unique dual approach to evaluation and managing symptoms.

Because symptoms often reflect an underlying infection or medical illness, Beacon Hospice's patient assessment tools and treatment algorithms can improve both symptom management and the overall quality of life. For example, a person with late stage dementia may be experiencing pain caused by pneumonia or a urinary tract infection can cause dizziness and pain that also affect behavior. Side effects of prescription medication are another common contributing factor to behavioral symptoms.

While the Deep Harbors approach is new to hospice care, many of the approaches it employs have been used throughout the ages to improve health and well-being. Beacon has stepped forward to embrace these modalities as having great potential to improve the lives of dementia patients.

Beacon Hospice Care is available in MA, CT, RI, NH, ME.