Background People dying with dementia are a vulnerable group at risk of not being involved in end-of-life care (EOLC) discussions. Within healthcare, many staff are reluctant to initiate EOLC discussions with people with dementia due to fears of causing distress, role uncertainty and lack of confidence in delivering bad news. There has been an absence in the literature to support staff to initiate EOLC discussions.
Aim To develop a framework to support healthcare professionals to communicate with people who have dementia about their future and end-of-life care.
Methods An Expert Advisory Group was convened to provide clinical expertise in the developing of a guidance document. A literature review was completed (using PubMed, CINAHL, Cochrane) and these findings directed the scope of the guidance document. The Expert Advisory Group collaborated over a 3 month period before the guidance document was circulated for consultation with advisory groups, specialists, frontline service providers and service users.
Results The guidance document was developed to support staff from all care settings to initiate EOLC discussions with people who have dementia. The document aims to highlight the specific communication needs of people with dementia and the importance of applying the palliative approach with this terminal condition. A framework was developed to optimise capacity to positively engage with people.
Discussion Communication is a key component in providing client centred care.
Conclusion Additional supports and guidance is required to support healthcare staff to effectively communicate with people who have dementia about their future and end-of-life care.
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