Investigating Barriers to Access and Delivery of Palliative Care for Persons with Dementia in London, Ontario

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Hill, Emily M
dementia; palliative care; long-term care; barriers to access; Geriatrics; Palliative Care
article description
Dementia is a syndrome that is progressive, degenerative and terminal. The palliative care philosophy aims to maximize quality of life for the dying individual and has been recognized in the literature as being both beneficial and under-used in persons dying with dementia. The purpose of this study was to investigate the experiences of staff delivering palliative care to individuals with dementia to determine how care was delivered, to learn which assessment tools were used, and whether policies were affected the delivery of palliative care. Twenty-two staff participants were interviewed. Data were interpreted using phenomenological methodology. Findings yielded three themes: confusion, resource shortages, and communication difficulties. Implications for practice include the clarification of terminology surrounding palliative care, the education of families about dementia and palliative care, better resource management, and a dementia-specific model of palliative care. Fruitful areas for future research include how to implement best dementia-specific guidelines, and solutions for more efficient resource use.