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Title: What care do people with dementia receive at the end of life? Lessons from a retrospective clinical audit of deaths in hospital and other settings
Authors: Triandafilidis, Zoi ;Carr, Sally ;Davis, Daneill ;Chiu, Simon;Leigh, Lucy;Jeong, Sarah Yeun-Sim ;Wong, Daniel ;Hensby, Jacinta ;Lewis, Suzanne ;Attia, John;Goodwin, Nicholas 
Affliation: Central Coast Local Health District
Gosford Hospital
Issue Date: 9-Jan-2024
Source: 24(1):40
Journal title: BMC geriatrics
Department: Central Coast Research Institute for Integrated Care
Abstract: The need for better end-of-life care for people with dementia has been acknowledged. Existing literature suggests that people dying with dementia have less access to palliative care, yet little is known about the care provided to people with dementia at the end of life. This study aimed to establish evidence related to end-of-life care for people dying with dementia in hospital compared to other settings. A retrospective clinical audit of people who had a diagnosis of dementia and had accessed services within a local health district, who died between 2015 and 2019, was conducted. A total of 705 people were identified, and a subset of 299 people randomly selected for manual audit. Chi-square p-values were used to compare the place of death, and a t-test or non-parametric test was used to assess the significance of the difference, as appropriate. Measures of functional decline within one month of death were assessed using mixed effects logistic regression models. The characteristics of people differed by place of death, with people who died in hospital more likely to be living at home and to not have a spouse. Less than 1 in 5 people had advance care directives or plans. Many were still being actively treated at the time of death: almost half of people who died in hospital had an investigation in their final 72┬áhours, less than half of people were coded as receiving palliative care at death, and more than 2 in 3 people did not get access to specialist palliative care. Declining function was associated with the terminal phase. This study provides novel insights for those providing end-of-life care for people with dementia. Healthcare professionals and policy makers should consider how demographic characteristics relate to the places people with dementia receive end-of-life care. The care provided to people with dementia in the last year of their life highlights the need for more support to prepare advance care documentation and timely consideration for palliative care. Changes in markers of nutritional status and function in people with advanced dementia may help with identification of terminal phases.
DOI: 10.1186/s12877-023-04449-1
Publicaton type: Journal Article
Keywords: Integrarted Care
Appears in Collections:Integrated Care

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