For most residents, the Long Term Care facility will be their last home. The average length of stay in many Canadian communities is less than 18 months, in some communities it is as low as 6 momnths.
We need to to integrate a palliative approach, offer symptom management, open the door to discuss difficult topics, and share with family interventions that are and are not helpful for people with advanced dementia.
Della Roberts and Gina Gaspard recently published an article in “Nursing Older People” journal. The article is titled “A palliative approach to care of residents with dementia” (see March 2013, Vol 25, No 2, pp 32-36). This article describes a workshop designed to incorporate a palliative approach into dementia care, it provides the associated teaching strategies and evaluations.
To summarize Roberst and Gaspard, “Dementia is a progressive, life-limiting illness. People with the condition who move into a care home deserve palliative care.”