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The challenges of providing palliative care for older people with dementia

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Julian Hughes


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Palliative care seems the right approach to dementia, except that it suggests a dichotomy between cure and care. As in cancer care, supportive care provides a broader framework, viewing dementia from the time of diagnosis until death and bereavement. The challenge is to find the right approach to the individual. This challenge arises in the person’s own home, in long-term care homes, and in hospitals. The challenging features of palliative care for older people with dementia are found in connection with the use of antibiotics, antipsychotics, and other medications, as well as in decisions about whether the person is in pain or in distress, or whether artificial feeding should be contemplated or not, as well as about the use of advance care plans. In short, the challenges are essentially ethical as well as clinical. The right approach will be the one that recognizes this facet of clinical care.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Küpper A-L, Hughes JC

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Current Oncology Reports

Year: 2011

Volume: 13

Issue: 4

Pages: 295-301

Print publication date: 19/04/2011

ISSN (print): 1523-3790

ISSN (electronic): 1534-6269

Publisher: Springer


DOI: 10.1007/s11912-011-0171-2


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