In early 2014 the Outpatient Therapies Department at Hebrew SeniorLife recently launched a service we call Therapy House Calls (THC), which delivers outpatient therapy services to patients in their own homes. Launching an innovative service is exciting enough on its own, but what really had me and my team thrilled, is the opportunity we discovered in HSL’s senior living communities to work collaboratively with specialists across disciplines to benefit our patients through a continuum of care. By doing so, I believe we are able to deliver the best care in the right place at the right time. Let me explain.
At our adult day health programs, older adults socialize with their peers while participating in a wide variety of activities. And if nursing care is needed, it’s readily available.
Think of the alternatives.
For many seniors it might be eight or more hours of isolation. That’s because families have work and other commitments that force them to leave their loved one at home. A phone call every now and then doesn’t allow for much interaction. And what happens if the senior forgets to take his medications? Or leaves the stove on?
The other day I sat in with a group of older adults who had recently moved into a senior housing complex. They talked about the emotional dynamic of transitioning to a new living environment. They spoke of loneliness, fear of change, and sadness at the loss of their former homes.
A similar set of emotions is present when a person faces the last stages of a terminal illness. Hospice care is dedicated to helping ease these inevitable difficulties. The hospice team becomes a community within the community to accompany the patient and family during this difficult life moment.
Although there are different causes for dementia, all types of dementia get worse over time. Advanced dementia refers to the final stage of the disease. The final stage comes at different times for everyone. On average, patients reach the advanced stage of dementia anywhere from 3-6 years after they are first diagnosed. The length of time people live with the advanced stage is also different for everyone and can range from months to years.
What are typical features of a patient with advanced dementia?
Lynda Bussgang is the Multigenerational Program Manager at Hebrew SeniorLife, responsible for overseeing and developing multigenerational programs for all of Hebrew Senior Life’s senior housing communities.