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Caring for people with dementia towards and at the end of life 

Caring for people with dementia towards and at the end of life
Chapter:
Caring for people with dementia towards and at the end of life
Author(s):

Louise Robinson

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198779803.003.0010
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date: 22 January 2021

Research evidence confirms that people dying with dementia receive suboptimal care compared to those with terminal cancer. Good quality end-of-life care in dementia can be achieved. It requires good communication with open and sensitive discussions about future preferences for care; advice about power of attorney, and other practical issues including support services and technology; continuity of care through a named lead GP/care-home nurse; detailed observation for signs of distress once communication has been lost; and referral to specialist services such as old-age psychiatry for behavioural problems, and palliative care for end-of-life symptom management. Most importantly, the uncertainty of the dying trajectory needs to be clearly understood by health professionals and clearly explained to family carers to help them understand the slow and often prolonged pathway to dying.

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