'Urgent need' to improve palliative care, says study

There is an urgent need to improve palliative care provision for older people with end-stage dementia, according to a literature review published in this month’s Journal of Clinical Nursing.

The authors also said that more research should be undertaken on the needs of patients entering the terminal phase of dementia. This would assist in allocating appropriate resources and training and improve the quality of end-of-life care, they said.

The Alzheimer's Society said that too many people with dementia are subjected to an undignified and unnecessarily painful death, often because healthcare staff lack the specialist training to provide good care at the end of someone's life.

More sharing of skills and knowledge between dementia and palliative care specialists would help facilitate this, the society added. 

The number of people with dementia in the UK is set to hit more than one million in less than 20 years. The first National Dementia Strategy is due to be published next month.

emma.bower@haymarket.com  

J Clin Nurs 2008; 17: 1144-63

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