Education and Care

Survival Guide to Hospitalization


A hospital stay can be frightening, confusing and risky for anyone. But for people with Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia, it can be downright dangerous—and even deadly. It is critical to take steps that can help prevent conditions that would land a person in a hospital, or should an admission be unavoidable, help keep the person safe while there.

Preventing Hospitalization

  • Check symptoms, such as coughs and congestion, immediately with a phone call or visit to a physician to reduce the likelihood they will progress into something more dangerous, like pneumonia.
  • Urinary tract infections are another common culprit for hospitalizations. Encourage the person to drink six to eight eight-ounce glasses of water or other non-caffeinated fluid per day.

Tolerating Hospitalization

  • Strive to ensure a smooth transition between care settings, (i.e., between home or skilled nursing facility and the hospital).
  • Supply hospital personnel with a list of the individual's current medications and dosages, over-the-counter medications, supplements and allergies—and make sure this is included on the patient's chart.
  • Get to know the attending nurses and doctors. Try to be present during doctors' rounds to have face-to-face interactions with the patient's medical professionals.

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For more information, connect with the Alzheimer's Foundation of America's licensed social workers. Click here or call 866.232.8484. Real People. Real Care.