Palliative care and care for people nearing the end of life

Palliative care and care for people nearing the end of life

The care team should make sure that palliative care is available to people with dementia from the time they are diagnosed until the end of life. The team should consider the person's needs so they can maximise their quality of life.

For people nearing the end of life the care team should assess their needs, make them feel comfortable and enable them to die with dignity in a place of their choosing. Any decisions about resuscitation should take account of the wishes of the person with dementia. Care should also include support for carers during their bereavement.

People nearing the end of life will be encouraged to eat and drink by mouth for as long as possible. Feeding by tube should not usually be used for people with severe dementia. If a person nearing the end of life has a fever, the care team should make sure he or she is assessed; simple methods to cool the person (such as medicines for fever) may be sufficient. Distress or changes in the person's behaviour may be caused by pain; this should be assessed and treated if necessary.