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Dementia 

Dementia
Chapter:
Dementia
Author(s):

Eric Widera

and Rachelle Bernacki

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199656097.003.0154
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date: 07 May 2021

Dementia is caused by a variety of disorders that result in a progressive loss of both cognitive and functional abilities. Despite the heterogeneity of disorders, there is a common set of problems that patients and families face living with this syndrome. Symptoms such as pain, eating difficulties, depression, and agitation are all common. As the disease progresses to the advanced stages, the different disorders share a common functional trajectory that includes persistently severe disability with complete dependence on others for basic activities of daily living. Care for individuals with dementia should involve a number of important palliative interventions. Advance care planning should occur early on in the disease process as it is anticipated that an individual will lose capacity to make medical and financial decisions at some point in their illness; specialized programmes for end-of-life care, such as hospice, should be considered for all patients with advanced dementia.

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