The terms palliative and end of life care are often used interchangeably and healthcare practitioners may perceive that palliative care is only appropriate during the terminal stages of an illness. This article, the first of two parts, provides healthcare practitioners with an overview of the concept of palliative care. It explains how this can be differentiated from end of life care and how it should be commenced in a timely manner, so that people who are living with dementia can contribute to the planning of their future care and their death. The policies and tools used in the provision of palliative and end of life care are discussed, including advance care planning and The Gold Standards Framework. The article is framed in a care home context; there is little research about how to optimise palliative care for people living with dementia in care homes. The second part of this article will discuss end of life care and the best practices for providing end of life care, including nutrition and hydration, oral hygiene, pain management and spiritual care.
Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2016.e10099Peer review
All articles are subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software.
Received: 26 April 2015
Accepted: 21 July 2016
Published online: 12 June 2016
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