About 50% of Alzheimer’s patients receive antibiotics in their last two weeks of life. There is no evidence that these drugs provide any benefits such as longer life or better quality of life. There are side-effects and pain associated with receiving antibiotics, so advocates are questioning their use. A new study is reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine that says the answer needs to be determined so proper procedures can be developed for the future.

About 70 percent of the 5 million Americans with dementia will end up in a nursing home at the end of their lives. Repeated infections and fevers are common at the end of life. The decision to use antibiotics or not needs to be made on a case-by-case basis with the family. And, this points to the importance of having an Advance Directive, which allows patients to spell out their wishes for end-of-life care.

A longer article about this issue and the study is available online in the magazine Health Day at http://healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=612980.

Visit the website of the Alzheimer’s Association to learn what you can do, and how you can help.www.alz.org. Also, check our website for upcoming information about the Memory Walk 2008 and how you can join Team Adamsky Law Officeswww.adamskylaw.com.