End of life care for older people in the final stages of dementia needs urgent improvement, the authors of a review have concluded. They analysed 29 studies, mostly from the US and UK, and identified four key themes – difficulties associated with diagnosing the terminal phase of the illness (prognostication), communication issues, medical interventions and the appropriateness of palliative care. The researchers say their review highlights the importance of appropriate palliative care for end-stage dementia, but note that an expansion of care might lead to skills and funding shortages, possibly compromising the ability of existing palliative care teams to care for cancer patients.

Birch D, Draper J. J Clin Nurs 2008;17(9):1144-63

Originally published in the June 2008 edition of MIMS Oncology & Palliative Care.

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