In the United States, 4.9 million people aged 65 years and older have Alzheimer's disease (AD). Medicare costs for patients with heart disease, diabetes, congestive heart failure, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and dementia are higher than for those without dementia. Although one principle of care for persons with AD is “do not hospitalize,” comorbidities may require inpatient care. This article presents a definition, the diagnostic criteria for AD, and information about differential diagnosis, risk factors, pathology, progression, evidence base for practice, assessment, pharmacologic management, guidelines for general inpatient care, discharge planning, and interventions related to communications, environment, spirituality, special tasks (eating, protecting tubes and dressings, bathing), stages of AD, and special problems (wandering, pain, incontinence, hallucinations, aggression).
Martha B. Sparks, PhD, APRN, BC, FNGNA, is a Professor, College of Nursing and Health Professions, University of Southern Indiana, Evansville.
Address correspondence to: Martha B. Sparks, PhD, APRN, BC, FNGNA, College of Nursing and Health Professions, University of Southern Indiana, 8600 University Blvd, Evansville, IN 47712 (firstname.lastname@example.org).