The challenges of providing palliative care for older people with dementia

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  2. Professor Julian Hughes
Author(s)Küpper A-L, Hughes JC
Publication type Article
JournalCurrent Oncology Reports
ISSN (print)1523-3790
ISSN (electronic)1534-6269
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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.
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