The basis, ethics and provision of palliative care for dementia: A review

Fariba Mahin-Babaei, Jamal Hilal, Julian C Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

Abstract

Interest in palliative care for people with dementia has been around for over two decades. There are clinical and ethical challenges and practical problems around the implementation of good quality palliative care in dementia. This narrative review of the literature focuses on the rationale or basis for services, some of the ethical issues that arise (particularly to do with artificial nutrition and hydration) and on the provision and implementation of services. We focus on the most recent literature. The rationale for palliative care for people with dementia is based on research and on an identified need for better clinical care. But the research largely demonstrates a paucity of good quality evidence, albeit particular interventions (and non-interventions) can be justified in certain circumstances. Numerous specific clinical challenges in end-of-life care for people with dementia are ethical in nature. We focus on literature around artificial nutrition and hydration and conclude that good communication, attention to the evidence and keeping the well-being of the person with dementia firmly in mind will guide ethical decision-making. Numerous challenges surround the provision of palliative care for people with dementia. Palliative care in dementia has been given definition, but can still be contested. Different professionals provide services in different locations. More research and education are required. No single service can provide palliative care for people with dementia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-8
Number of pages6
JournalMaturitas
Volume83
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016

Keywords

  • Decision Making
  • Dementia
  • Fluid Therapy
  • Humans
  • Nutritional Support
  • Palliative Care

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