Hospice Referrals of Patients With Alzheimer Disease in Southeastern Georgia: Implications for Hospice Referral Education

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Journal of Hospice & Palliative Nursing:




Patients with Alzheimer disease and their families are eligible to receive hospice care in the last 6 months of life, which can offer effective palliative care to these patients and support to their families. In the Ogeechee region of southeastern Georgia in 2008, only 1.5% of patients with Alzheimer disease died under hospice services. This study sought to determine what factors or barriers deter the healthcare provider’s decision to refer a patient with late-stage Alzheimer disease to hospice. A survey questionnaire was developed to explore physicians’ decision making for referring patients with late-stage Alzheimer disease to hospice. A convenience sample of 12 physicians completed the questionnaire. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Data from the study indicated that, overall, the respondents were unaware of hospice admission criteria for patients with late-stage Alzheimer disease and were not comfortable with prognostication in the last 6 months of life for these patients. Future studies are warranted to include a larger sample of providers.