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Palliative care and end of life care 

Palliative care and end of life care
Chapter:
Palliative care and end of life care
Author(s):

Elizabeth Sampson

and Karen Harrison Dening

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199644957.003.0028
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date: 23 November 2017

Our ageing population and changes in cause of death, mean that increasing number of people will die in old age. Older people have, in many countries, had poor access to good quality end of life care. Many will develop multiple co-morbidities associated with age; dementia, mental health problems and general frailty. Palliative care is an approach which aims to relieve suffering and take account of a person’s physical, psychosocial and spiritual needs as they near the end of life. Advanced dementia is now being perceived as a “terminal illness”. Interventions such as antibiotics and enteral tube feeding remain in use despite little evidence that they improve quality of life or other outcomes. A person-centred approach from a multidisciplinary team is vital in providing good quality end of life care in a range of settings The acknowledgement of anticipatory grief and provision of bereavement support are vital for some family carers.

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