Expert views on the factors enabling good end of life care for people with dementia: a qualitative study

Richard Philip Lee, Claire Bamford, Catherine Exley, Louise Robinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Background
Dementia, of all long term illnesses, accounts for the greatest chronic disease burden, and the number of people with age-related diseases like dementia is predicted to double by 2040. People with advanced dementia experience similar symptoms to those dying with cancer yet professional carers find prognostication difficult and struggle to meet palliative care needs, with physical symptoms undetected and untreated. While elements of good practice in this area have been identified in theory, the factors which enable such good practice to be implemented in real world practice need to be better understood. The aim of this study was to determine expert views on the key factors influencing good practice in end of life care for people with dementia.

Methods
Semi-structured telephone and face-to-face interviews with topic guide, verbatim transcription and thematic analysis. Interviews were conducted with experts in dementia care and/or palliative care in England (n?=?30).

Results
Four key factors influencing good practice in end of life care for people with dementia were identified from the expert interviews: leadership and management of care, integrating clinical expertise, continuity of care, and use of guidelines.

Conclusions
The relationships between the four key factors are important. Leadership and management of care have implications for the successful implementation of guidelines, while the appropriate and timely use of clinical expertise could prevent hospitalisation and ensure continuity of care. A lack of integration across health and social care can undermine continuity of care. Further work is needed to understand how existing guidelines and tools contribute to good practice.
Original languageEnglish
Article number32
Number of pages10
JournalBMC Palliative Care
Volume14
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jul 2015

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