Change needed in end-of-life dementia care

MILTON KEYNES, England (UPI) — British researchers say many improvements are needed in the care provided to people in the final stages of dementia.

Open University Professor Jan Draper and Clinical Nurse Specialist Deborah Birch reached that conclusion after reviewing 29 published studies conducted in nine nations during the past 10 years.

“We must act now to stop people with dementia from suffering from protracted, potentially uncomfortable and undignified deaths” said Draper. “Our review has reinforced the importance of providing appropriate palliative care to individuals suffering from end-stage dementia and clearly identified some of the barriers to extending such provision.”

The recommendations include: communicating the diagnosis of dementia in a sensitive way; acknowledging the potential influence on treatment decisions on the beliefs and values of members of the healthcare team; and reconsidering aggressive medical treatments that have limited benefits and might cause further discomfort to dying patients.

The review appears in the Journal of Clinical Nursing.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International
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