Less is known about how caregivers prepare (or not) for the death of a family member with dementia. This study's purpose was to explore how caregivers handle these dementia deaths, including identification of barriers and facilitators to preparing caregivers for the death of an elder family member dying with dementia. This qualitative, descriptive study employed a purposive sampling strategy in which the principal investigator interviewed 36 caregivers of family members age 65 and older who died from a dementia-related diagnosis. Directed content analysis was used to analyze the data. Four primary themes were identified as barriers: (1) hindrances to information; (2) barriers to hospice; (3) ineffective attempts to comfort; and (4) the nature of death with dementia. Six themes were identified as facilitators: (1) religious/spiritual beliefs; (2) caregiver initiative; (3) prior experience; (4) bearing witness to decline; (5) professionals alerting caregiver (of what to expect of impending death); and (6) culture and legacy of family caregiving. The results support an increased role of social work in addressing caregivers' awareness of impending death and helping prepare them for the death of an elder with dementia.
BACKGROUND: Assisted dying and continuous deep sedation (CDS) are controversial practices. Little is known about the perceptions of physicians and surrogates about these practices for patients with advanced dementia.
OBJECTIVES: To describe and compare physician and surrogate agreement with the use of assisted dying and CDS in advanced dementia.
DESIGN, SETTING, SUBJECTS: Physicians (n = 64) and surrogates (n = 168) of persons with advanced dementia were recruited as part of a randomized controlled trial in Switzerland that tested decision support tools in this population.
METHODS: At baseline, the participants were asked about their agreement with assisted dying and CDS in advanced dementia using the following response options: "completely agree," "somewhat agree," "somewhat disagree," "completely disagree," and "do not know." Multivariable logistic regressions compared the likelihood that surrogates versus physicians would completely or somewhat agree (vs. completely or somewhat disagree) with these practices.
RESULTS: The physicians and surrogates, respectively, had a mean age (SD) of 50.6 years (9.9) and 57.4 years (14.6); 46.9% (n = 30/64) and 68.9% (n = 115/167) were women. A total of 20.3% (n = 13/64) of the physicians and 47.0% (n = 79/168) of the surrogates agreed with assisted dying in advanced dementia. Surrogates were significantly more likely to agree with this practice than physicians (adjusted odds ratio, 3.87; 95% CI: 1.94, 7.69). With regard to CDS, 51.6% (n = 33/64) of the physicians and 41.9% (n = 70/169) of the surrogates agreed with this practice, which did not differ significantly between the groups.
CONCLUSIONS: The surrogates were more agreeable to considering assisted dying in the setting of advanced dementia than the physicians, and about half of the participants in both groups reported CDS to be an appropriate option for this population.
BACKGROUND: Palliative care for older people with life-limiting diseases often involves informal caregivers, but the palliative care literature seldom focuses on the negative and positive aspects of informal caregiving.
OBJECTIVE: To assess the association of proximity to end of life (EOL) and dementia caregiving with informal caregivers' burden of care and positive experiences and explain differences in outcomes.
DESIGN: Data on 1267 informal caregivers of community-dwelling older people were selected from a nationally representative cross-sectional survey and analyzed using analysis of variance and multivariable regression analyses.
MEASUREMENTS: The Self-Perceived Pressure from Informal Care Scale and the Positive Experiences Scale were administered to assess caregiver burden and positive experiences with providing care.
RESULTS: Dementia care, both at EOL and not at EOL, was associated with the most caregiver burden relative to regular care. Dementia care not at EOL was associated with the fewest positive experiences, and EOL care not in dementia with the most positive experiences. Only the differences in burden of care could be explained by variables related to stressors based on Pearlin stress-coping model.
CONCLUSIONS: Informal caregivers of people with dementia are at risk not only of high caregiver burden but also of missing out on positive experiences associated with caregiving at EOL. Future research should examine how dementia-related factors reduce positive caregiving experiences, in order to make palliative care a positive reality for those providing informal care to community-dwelling persons with dementia.
This study was conducted to enhance the rate of advance care planning (ACP) conversations and documentation in a dementia specialty practice by increasing physician knowledge, attitudes, and skills. We used a pre- and postintervention paired design for physicians and 2 independent groups for patients. The ACP dementia educational program encompassed 3 objectives: (1) to understand the relevance of ACP to the dementia specialty practice, (2) to provide a framework to discuss ACP with patients and caregivers, and (3) to discuss ways to improve ACP documentation and billing in the electronic medical record. A 10-item survey was utilized pre- and posteducational intervention to assess knowledge, attitudes, and skill. The prevalence of ACP documentation was assessed through chart review 3 months pre- and postintervention. The educational intervention was associated with increased confidence in ability to discuss ACP ( P = .033), belief that ACP improves outcomes in dementia ( P = .035), knowledge about ACP Medicare billing codes and requirements ( P = .002), and belief that they have support from other personnel to implement ACP ( P = .017). In 2 independent groups of patients with dementia, documentation rates of an advance directive increased from 13.6% to 19.7% ( P = .045) and the Medical Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment (MOLST) increased from 11.0% to 19.0% ( P = .006). The MOLST documentation in 2 independent groups of patients with nondementia increased from 7.3% to 10.7% ( P = .046). Continuing efforts to initiate educational interventions are warranted to increase the effectiveness ACP documentation and future care of persons with dementia.
BACKGROUND: Dementia is a progressive neurodegenerative life-limiting disease. The international literature indicates that patients with advanced dementia can benefit from palliative care (PC) provided during the end-of-life phase. However, evidence indicates that currently many fail to access such provision despite the increased recognition of their palliative needs.
AIM: To investigate the factors influencing provision of PC services for people with advanced dementia.
METHODS: A systematic review of mixed method studies written in English was undertaken. 11 electronic databases including Embase, Medline, PubMed, CINAHL and Scopus from 2008 to 2018 were searched. Narrative synthesis and content analysis were used to analyse and synthesise the data.
KEY FINDINGS: In total, 34 studies were included. 25 studies providing qualitative data, 6 providing quantitative data and 3 mixed methods studies. The findings identified organisational, healthcare professionals and patients-related barriers and facilitators in provision of PC for people with advanced dementia from perspective of stakeholders across different care settings. The most commonly reported barriers are lack of skills and training opportunities of the staff specific to PC in dementia, lack of awareness that dementia is a terminal illness and a palliative condition, pain and symptoms assessment/management difficulties, discontinuity of care for patients with dementia and lack of coordination across care settings, difficulty communicating with the patient and the lack of advance care planning.
CONCLUSIONS: Even though the provision of PC was empirically recognised as a care step in the management of dementia, there are barriers that hinder access of patients with dementia to appropriate facilities. With dementia prevalence rising and no cure on the horizon, it is crucial that health and social care regulatory bodies integrate a palliative approach into their care using the identified facilitators to achieve optimal and effective PC in this population.
Chinese family caregivers of dementia patients suffer considerable grief in their caregiving activity; little research has been conducted on dementia caregivers' grief in China. This study aims to (a) confirm the factor structure of the Mandarin version of the Marwit-Meuser Caregiver Grief Inventory-Short Form (MM-CGI-SF), (b) evaluate the levels of family caregivers' grief, and (c) explore the best predictors of family caregivers' grief. A cross-sectional study was conducted to collect data from 91 caregivers of dementia patients. The Mandarin version of the MM-CGI-SF had a three-factor structure. Family caregivers' grief was at an average level. Family caregivers' monthly household income and caring time per day predicted their own grief. The Mandarin version of the MM-CGI-SF possessed the same factor structure as the original English version, and the Chinese family caregivers experienced an average grief which was predicted by the monthly household income and caring time per day of the caregivers.
BACKGROUND: Persons with advanced dementia cannot initiate activities because of the executive dysfunction. The lack of activities was identified as one of the most important factors contributing to behavioral problems of these persons. The unmet needs were boredom/sensory deprivation, loneliness/need for social interaction, and need for meaningful activities. There is a need for activities designed specifically for residents with advanced dementia.
OBJECTIVE: A description of patient's needs and of programs that intend to maintain quality of life for people with dementia and facing death.
DATA SOURCES: A literature review of programs used for persons with advanced dementia and residing in long-term facilities, using the PubMed data base and collateral sources.
RESULTS: Since palliative care is appropriate for persons with advanced dementia, attention has to be paid to three following important aspects of care: Medical issues, behavioral symptoms, and meaningful activities. Medical interventions should be limited to those which have more benefits than burdens, behavioral symptoms should be distinguished according to the context in which they occur, and treated by non-pharmacological interventions that involve meaningful activities. This review describes four programs that may promote the quality of life in persons with advanced dementia and facing death. They are designed for persons with advanced dementia, taking into account their functional impairments. Most of these programs involve short infrequent sessions. In contrast, Namaste Care is a daily extended program of enhanced nursing care that can provide quality of life until the last breath.
CONCLUSIONS: It is possible to maintain quality life for people with advanced dementia if a special program of activities is available.
BACKGROUND: Little is known about the patterns of end-of-life (EOL) health care for older Mexican-Americans with or without a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias (ADRD). Our objective was to investigate the frequency of acute hospital admissions, intensive care unit (ICU) use, and ventilator use during the last 30-days of life for deceased older Mexican-American Medicare Beneficiaries with and without an ADRD diagnosis.
METHODS: We used Medicare claims data linked with survey information from 1,090 participants (mean age of death 85.1 years) of the Hispanic EPESE. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to estimate the odds for hospitalization, ICU use, and ventilator use in the last 30-days of life for decedents with ADRD compared to those without ADRD. Generalized linear models were used to estimate risk ratio for length of hospital stay (LOS).
RESULTS: Within the last 30-days of life, 64.5% of decedents had an acute hospitalization (59.1% ADRD, 68.3% no ADRD), 33.9% had an ICU stay (31.3% ADRD, 35.8% no ADRD), and 17.2% used a ventilator (14.9% ADRD, 18.8% no ADRD). ADRD was associated with significantly lower hospitalizations (OR=0.67, 95% CI=0.50-0.89) and shorter LOS (RR=0.77, 95% CI=0.65-0.90).
CONCLUSION: Hospitalization, ICU stay, and ventilator use are common at the end of life for older Mexican-Americans. The lower hospitalization and shorter LOS of decedents with ADRD indicate a modest reduction in acute care use. Future research should investigate the impact of EOL planning on acute-care use and quality of life in terminally ill Mexican-American older adults.
The process of advance care planning in dementia is far from straightforward; as dementia progresses, the ability to consider future thoughts and actions becomes compromised, thus affecting decision-making abilities. Family carers find themselves increasingly in a position where they need to inform, or directly make, decisions on behalf of the person with dementia. This article discusses the context and importance of a palliative care approach and recommends rationales and strategies for healthcare professionals to support families affected by dementia to better plan for their future care.
BACKGROUND: A challenge for commissioners and providers of end-of-life care in dementia is to translate recommendations for good or effective care into quality indicators that inform service development and evaluation.
AIM: To identify and critically evaluate quality indicators for end-of-life care in dementia.
RESULTS: We found 8657 references, after de-duplication. In all, 19 publications describing 10 new and 3 updated sets of indicators were included in this review. Ultimately, 246 individual indicators were identified as being relevant to dementia end-of-life care and mapped against EAPC guidelines.
CONCLUSIONS: We systematically derived and assessed a set of quality indicators using a robust framework that provides clear definitions of aspects of palliative care, which are dementia specific, and strengthens the theoretical underpinning of new complex interventions in end-of-life care in dementia.
Despite the increasing prevalence, growing costs, and high mortality of dementia in older adults in the U.S., little is known about the course of these diseases and what care dementia patients receive in their final years of life. Using a large volume of clinical notes of dementia patients over the last two years of life, we conducted automatic topic modeling to capture the trends of various themes mentioned in care provider notes, including patients' physical function status, mental health, falls, nutrition and feeding, infections, hospital care, intensive care, end-of-life care, and family and social supports. Our research contributes to the adoption and evaluation of an unsupervised machine learning method using large amounts of retrospective free-text electronic health record data to discover and understand illness and health care trajectories.
BACKGROUND: dying in one's preferred place is a quality marker for end-of-life care. Little is known about preferred place of death, or the factors associated with achieving this, for people with dementia.
AIMS: to understand preferences for place of death among people with dementia; to identify factors associated with achieving these preferences.
POPULATION: adults with a diagnosis of dementia who died between December 2015 and March 2017 and who were registered on Coordinate My Care, an Electronic Palliative Care Coordination System.
DESIGN: retrospective cohort study.
ANALYSIS: multivariable logistic regression investigated factors associated with achieving preferred place of death.
RESULTS: we identified 1,047 people who died with dementia; information on preferred and actual place of death was available for 803. Preferred place of death was most commonly care home (58.8%, n = 472) or home (39.0%, n = 313). Overall 83.7% (n = 672) died in their preferred place. Dying in the preferred place was more likely for those most functionally impaired (OR 1.82 95% CI 1.06-3.13), and with a ceiling of treatment of 'symptomatic relief only' (OR 2.65, 95% CI 1.37-5.14). It was less likely for people with a primary diagnosis of cancer (OR 0.52, 95% CI 0.28-0.97), those who were 'for' cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (OR 0.32, 95% CI 0.16-0.62) and those whose record was created longer before death (51-250 days (ref <50 days) OR 0.60, 95% CI 0.38-0.94).
CONCLUSIONS: most people with dementia want to die in a care home or at home. Achieving this is more likely where goals of treatment are symptomatic relief only, indicating the importance of advance care planning.
OBJECTIVES: To examine family caregivers' experiences with end-of-life care for nursing home residents with dementia and associations with the residents dying peacefully.
DESIGN: A secondary data analysis of family caregiver data collected in the observational Dutch End of Life in Dementia (DEOLD) study between 2007 and 2010.
SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: Data were collected at 34 Dutch nursing homes (2799 beds) representing the nation. We included 252 reports from bereaved family members of nursing home residents with dementia.
MEASURES: The primary outcome was dying peacefully, assessed by family members using an item from the Quality of Dying in Long-term Care instrument. Unpleasant experiences with end-of-life care were investigated using open-ended questions. Overall satisfaction with end-of-life care was assessed with the End-of-Life Satisfaction With Care (EOLD-SWC) scale, and families' appraisal of decision making was measured with the Decision Satisfaction Inventory. Associations were investigated with multilevel linear regression analyses using generalized estimating equations.
RESULTS: Families' reports of unpleasant experiences translated into 2 themes: neglect and lack of respect. Neglect involved facing inaccessibility, disinterest, or discontinuity of relations, and negligence in tailored care and information. Lack of respect involved perceptions of being purposefully disregarded, an insensitive approach towards resident and family, noncompliance with agreements, and violations of privacy. Unpleasant experiences with end-of-life care were negatively associated with families' perceptions of the resident dying peacefully. Families' assessment of their relative dying peacefully was positively associated with satisfaction with end-of-life care and decision making.
CONCLUSIONS/IMPLICATIONS: Families' reports of unpleasant experiences with end-of-life care may inform practice to improve perceived quality of dying of their loved ones. Humane and compassionate care and attention from physicians and other staff for resident and family may facilitate recollections of a peaceful death.
OBJECTIVES: Caregivers of persons with dementia can experience loss and grief long before the death of the person. Although the phenomenon of caregiver grief has been increasingly described, it is uncertain if caregiver grief has independent effects-separate from the well-studied construct of caregiver burden-on adverse outcomes such as caregiver depression. We sought to compare the effects of baseline grief and burden on caregiver depression at baseline and 2.5 years later.
DESIGN AND SETTING: A cohort study with 2.5 years of follow-up.
PARTICIPANTS: Family caregivers of community-dwelling persons with dementia (n = 183).
MEASURES: Participants completed questionnaires with scales that assessed caregiver grief, burden, and depression. Baseline grief and burden scores were included in a path analysis to predict depression at baseline and at 2.5 years.
RESULTS: At baseline, grief and burden had synergistic relationships with each other (P = .012), where the high levels of grief amplified the effect of burden on caregiver depression. Both grief and burden had longitudinal effects on caregiver depression at 2.5 years (P <.001 and P = .047, respectively), albeit with some differences in mechanism; both had effects which were indirectly mediated through baseline depression (P < .001 and P = .002, respectively), but only grief had a direct path toward depression at 2.5 years (P = .030), which was distinct from baseline depression.
CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: The findings highlight the need to identify and address caregiver grief in dementia services. They present a window of opportunity to improve caregiving outcomes, especially during the "latent phase" when caregivers encounter loss and grief but have yet to fully experience the debilitating effects of depression.
OBJECTIVES: Historically, dementia has not been recognised as a life-limiting condition or one that may benefit from a palliative approach to its care. There are many challenges in providing palliative and end-of-life care to this group of people, some of which may be reduced through advance care planning (ACP) to support people with dementia to have a greater influence on their care at end of life. ACP has been defined as a process of discussing and recording of wishes, values and preferences for future care and treatment held between an individual, family members and their care provider(s) that takes effect when the person loses capacity. The objective of this project was to involve people with dementia and their family carers in co-design of ACP guide and template to prepare for further study related to communication processes in ACP.
METHODS: A user-centred design process cycle of development and review was undertaken by Dementia UK which involved people with dementia, family carers, Admiral Nurses and other key stakeholders in developing an ACP guide and template.
RESULTS: Nine cyclical stages were undertaken to achieve the outcome of an ACP guide and template.
CONCLUSION: Co-production using a user-centred design approach offers a structured and inclusive approach to developing ACP materials.Authors.
Although providing direct care to residents with dementia, long-term care (LTC) home staff of registered nurses', registered practical nurses', and personal support workers' involvement in end-of-life decision-making is rarely acknowledged. The purpose of this study was to examine barriers and facilitators to LTC home staff involvement in end-of-life decision-making for people with advanced dementia. We report on the barriers to staff involvement in decision-making. Using an interpretive descriptive design, four major barriers to staff involvement in decision-making were identified: (a) the predominance of a biomedical model of care; (b) a varied understanding of a palliative approach; (c) challenging relationships with families; and (d) a discomfort with discussing death. Findings suggest that the predominant biomedical model in LTC homes, while important, must be imbued with a philosophy that emphasizes relationships among residents with dementia, family and staff.
BACKGROUND: The UK older population is becoming increasingly ethnically diverse, with a projected eight-fold increase in dementia among black, Asian and minority ethnic communities over the next 30 years, compared with a two-fold increase in white British people with dementia.
AIMS: This Admiral Nurse case study explores an understanding of culture and ethnic background in families' experiences of dementia and caring using a culturagram assessment framework.
FINDINGS: The culturagram enabled a more comprehensive assessment, so that care delivery was sensitive to the specific cultural and ethnicity issues in a relationship-centred approach to dementia care.
CONCLUSION: An understanding of the cultural influences in light of a diagnosis of dementia were essential in developing a care package that met the needs of all family members.
BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: Although Alzheimer disease and other dementias are life limiting, only a minority of these patients or their proxy decision makers participate in advance care planning. We describe end-of-life care preferences and acute care and hospice use in the last 6 months of life for persons enrolled in a comprehensive dementia care management program.
DESIGN: Observational, retrospective cohort.
SETTING: Urban, academic medical center.
PARTICIPANTS: A total of 322 persons enrolled in dementia care management after July 1, 2012, who died before July 1, 2016.
INTERVENTION: Dementia care comanagement model using nurse practitioners partnered with primary care providers and community organizations to provide comprehensive dementia care, including advance care planning.
MEASUREMENTS: Advance care preferences, use of Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST), hospice enrollment, and hospitalizations and emergency department (ED) visits in the last 6 months of life obtained from electronic health record data.
RESULTS: Nearly all decedents (99.7%, N = 321) had a goals-of-care conversation documented (median = 3 conversations; interquartile range = 2-4 conversations), and 64% had advance care preferences recorded. Among those with recorded preferences, 88% indicated do not resuscitate, 48% limited medical interventions, and 35% chose comfort-focused care. Most patients (89%) specified limited artificial nutrition, including withholding feeding tubes. Over half (54%) had no hospitalizations or ED visits in the last 6 months of life, and intensive care unit stays were rare (5% of decedents). Overall, 69% died on hospice. Decedents who had completed a POLST were more likely to die in hospice care (74% vs 62%; P = .03) and die at home (70% vs 59%; P = .04).
CONCLUSIONS: Enrollees in a comprehensive dementia care comanagement program had high engagement in advance care planning, high rates of hospice use, and low acute care utilization near the end of life. Wider implementation of such programs may improve end-of-life care for persons with dementia.
Background: Nursing staff caring for people with dementia have a crucial role in addressing palliative care needs and identifying changes in health status. Palliative care for people with dementia is complex and requires specific competences. A lack thereof may lead to unnecessary hospitalizations, poor symptom control and undesirable burdensome treatments. Understanding what nursing staff need to provide palliative care specifically for people with dementia facilitates the development of tailored and feasible interventions.
Objective: To investigate what is known from the literature regarding the needs in providing palliative dementia care as perceived by nursing staff working in home care or in long-term care facilities and to establish an integrated conceptualization of these needs.
Design: A scoping review method combined with thematic analysis methods.
Data sources: Bibliographic databases of PubMed, CINAHL and PsycINFO were searched for primary research studies.
Review methods: Guidelines from the Joanna Briggs Institute were utilized as a framework for setting up and conducting the scoping review. Eligible articles considered nursing staffâ€™s perceived needs in providing palliative dementia care at home or in long-term care facilities. Two authors assessed eligibility based on title and abstract, assessed full texts for selected records and assessed the quality of included articles. Thematic analysis methods were used to identify themes from relevant study findings, which were integrated to form a conceptualization.
Results: Of the 15 articles that were included, most used qualitative methods (N = 13) and were conducted in long-term care facilities (N = 14). Themes reflecting nursing staff needs on a direct care-level concern recognizing and addressing palliative care needs (such as comfort), verbal and non-verbal communication, challenging behaviour and familiarity: knowing and understanding the person with dementia. On more distant levels, themes involve a need for interdisciplinary collaboration, training and education and organizational support.
Conclusion: A comprehensive overview of nursing staff perspectives on providing palliative care for people with dementia demonstrates interdependent needs related to recognizing and addressing palliative care needs, communicating, handling challenging behaviour and building close care relationships. These care-related needs occur within workplace and organizational contexts. Organizational support is considered insufficient. Yet, healthcare organizations have the authority to fulfil a facilitating role in implementing nursing interventions tailored to nursing staff needs. Areas for further research include home care settings, the psychosocial and spiritual domains of palliative dementia care, advance care planning and family involvement.
Caring for someone with dementia is one of the most challenging caring roles; however, the demands of the role towards the end of life often mean carers are unable to maintain face-to-face support. The aim of this study was to: (a) Explore the experiences of older (over 65 years) family carers of people with dementia of support towards the end of life; (b) Explore with family carers the role of the internet as a support for them at the end of life. Semi-structured interviews were conducted, with purposive sampling from general practice and research networks to recruit 20 current and former family carers aged 65 and over in England (2016-2017). Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed, and analysed using thematic analysis. An overarching theme of the "separation of worlds" (the internal caring world and the outside world of society) was identified, with four sub themes: (a) the support role of relationships and social networks; (b) loss as a consequence of caring; (c) reconstruction of life as a carer; and finally; (d) life within and beyond the computer screen. This study demonstrates the complexity of social support at the end of life for family carers depicted in a model of two worlds. The internet can be seen as a viable approach to help carers maintain existing networks, reconstruct networks they have lost or developing new networks to meet their new needs and circumstances as a carer. Future support interventions should focus on a mixed model of technology and human interaction.