Palliative and end of life care for people with advanced dementia
evidence and practice    

Palliative and end of life care for people with advanced dementia

Barbara Sharp Policy and Practice Consultant, Alzheimer Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland
Jenny Henderson Associate Lecturer, University of the West of Scotland, Hamilton, Scotland
Margaret Brown Senior Lecturer, Alzheimer Scotland Centre for Policy and Practice, University of the West of Scotland, Hamilton, Scotland
Anna Jack-Waugh Senior Lecturer in Dementia, University of the West of Scotland, Hamilton, Scotland
Rhoda Macrae Senior Lecturer in Dementia, University of the West of Scotland, Hamilton, Scotland

Why you should read this article:
  • To recognise that people living with advanced dementia should be offered early palliative and end of life care that aligns with best practice

  • To acknowledge the importance of early conversations with the person and family during diagnosis, and as dementia progresses, to support understanding and action planning for the advanced condition and end of life

  • To identify the need for accurate assessment of and response to pain in palliative and end of life care for people with dementia

Despite growing understanding in recent years of the biological, psychological, social, environmental and spiritual aspects of dementia, people with advanced dementia continue to experience inequalities in accessing healthcare capable of improving their lives. The complexities of advanced dementia challenge professional competence and demand the highest level of skilled, compassionate care.

This article, the last in a series on living with advanced dementia, considers the status and direction of palliative care as it applies to people with dementia and explores contemporary issues regarding advanced dementia and end of life, with a focus on guidance for practitioners and support for best practice. It identifies that open communication, clear information and a person-centred approach adopted as early as possible in the syndrome can make this period less distressing. Crucially, people at the end of life should be offered care in line with best practice in palliative and end of life approaches.

Nursing Older People. doi: 10.7748/nop.2020.e1191

Peer review

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

Correspondence

margaret.brown@uws.ac.uk

Conflict of interest

None declared

Sharp B, Henderson J, Brown M et al (2020) Palliative and end of life care for people with advanced dementia. Nursing Older People. doi: 10.7748/nop.2020.e1191

Published online: 09 December 2020

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