Meaningful connections in dementia end of life care in long term care homes

Background

Most persons with dementia die in long term care (LTC) homes, where palliative approaches are appropriate. However, palliative approaches have not been widely implemented and there is limited understanding of staff and family experiences of dying and bereavement in this context.

Method

This descriptive qualitative study explored family and staff experiences of end of life and end of life care for persons with dementia in LTC homes. Eighteen focus groups were conducted with 77 staff members and 19 relatives of persons with dementia at four LTC homes in four Canadian provinces.

Results

Three themes emerged: knowing the resident, the understanding that they are all human beings, and the long slow decline and death of residents with dementia.

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