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Dementia patients 'deserve palliative care'

Dementia patients 'deserve palliative care'
13th May 2008

Individuals with end-stage dementia deserve the same level of palliative care as cancer patients, according to a new review.

Outlined in the May issue of the Journal of Clinical Medicine, the review shows that elderly people with severe dementia need a high level of palliative care to prevent them from suffering undignified deaths.

During the review, some 29 studies from across the globe were taken into account, and according to Jan Draper, professor of nursing at the Open University, they reinforced the view that palliative care is important.

The research team added that they identified a number of ways in which carers can improve the quality of care they provide dementia patients, including openly communicating about the condition and its likely progression, being sensitive in discussions and designing a tailored care plan for each individual.

Professor Draper also stated that there are some hurdles to overcome before this level of care can be implemented, including the possibility of skills and funding shortages.

A recent survey by the British Medical Journal showed that palliative care makes the biggest difference to patients.