Updated Review of Palliative Care in Dementia

Abstract

Purpose of Review

Palliative care is likely to be of benefit to patients with dementia as it is with other progressive, life-limiting conditions. The purpose of this review is to provide an overview of recent updates into the research around palliative care for patients with dementia and to highlight gaps for further research.

Recent Findings

There are disparities in hospice referrals and end of life care for patients with dementia compared to patients with other life-limiting conditions. Advance care planning interventions are being designed and tested as patients and their caregivers indicate a desire for more information from their healthcare providers, although significant challenges remain with regard to physician skills and time. Additional attention is being paid to non-cognitive symptoms of dementia, such as neuropsychiatric symptoms, with a new atypical antipsychotic medication recently submitted to the FDA for approval. Pain management, accurate prognostication, timing of palliative care interventions, and the effects of caregiving on caregiver health remain understudied areas.

Summary

There have been many recent advances in palliative care research as it pertains to patients with dementia. However, several gaps remain. Future research will be important to close these gaps in order to further optimize the care of patients with dementia.

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Correspondence to Reena T. Gottesman.

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Gottesman, R.T., Blinderman, C.D. Updated Review of Palliative Care in Dementia. Curr Geri Rep 10, 42–50 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13670-020-00351-5

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Keywords

  • Dementia
  • Palliative care