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Timing of end of life care in dementia: difficulties and dilemmas for GPs

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Kate Grisaffi, Professor Dame Louise Robinson


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Previous work has suggested that people with dementia receive sub-optimal end-of-life care. This study set out to investigate GPs’ views and experiences of caring for their patients who have dementia. Ten GPs from 4 different practices were interviewed using semi-structured qualitative interviews. The interviews covered the GPs’ understanding of end-of-life care, decision making and clinical assessment, challenges for GPs in the provision of end-of-life care in dementia, and improving end-of-life care through education and planning. The results identified that providing end-of-life care for people with dementia can be challenging due to the unpredictable course of the disease, communication difficulties and discontinuity of care if people move into nursing homes at a late stage. GPs may experience difficulties and dilemmas in many areas, especially when and how to initiate such care. They suggested that care could be improved if end-of-life choices for people with dementia were identified at an early stage, with carers as an expert resource, and through education, the observation of specific clinical indicators and tools to facilitate planning.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Grisaffi K, Robinson L

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Dementia Care

Year: 2010

Volume: 18

Issue: 3

Pages: 36-39

Print publication date: 01/05/2010

ISSN (print): 1351-8372

Publisher: Hawker Publications Ltd