Advance care planning and decision-making in dementia care: a literature review
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

Advance care planning and decision-making in dementia care: a literature review

Wendy Mountford Admiral Nurse Clinical Lead, Douglas Macmillan Hospice, Stoke-on-Trent, England
Karen Harrison Dening Head of Research and Publications, Dementia UK, London, England
Julie Green Dean of Education, Keele University, Keele, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To enhance your knowledge of the literature on advance care planning (ACP) in dementia care

  • To be aware of the potential benefits of ACP for people living with dementia and their carers

  • To recognise the barriers and enablers to undertaking ACP, and how these could be addressed

Dementia is the leading cause of death in England and Wales, but traditionally it has not been considered a terminal or life-limiting condition. As a result, little significance may be placed on advance care planning (ACP) for people with dementia. Evidence suggests that most patients with advanced dementia have often not been given an opportunity to complete an advance care plan and have not had conversations with their families about their wishes and preferences at the end of life.

This article reports on a literature review that aimed to explore the evidence on the introduction of ACP in achieving preferred place of care or death for people living with dementia, and reducing carer burden. The literature review found that ACP discussions have several benefits for people with dementia and their family carers, but that various factors can support or hinder such discussions. It concludes that these people and their families need to plan for end of life and suggests that ACP can increase the likelihood of achieving their preferred place of care and death and reducing decisional burden for carers.

Nursing Older People. doi: 10.7748/nop.2020.e1238

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated software


Conflict of interest

None declared

Mountford W, Harrison Dening K, Green J (2020) Advance care planning and decision-making in dementia care: a literature review. Nursing Older People. doi: 10.7748/nop.2020.e1238

Published online: 15 July 2020

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