Suzanne Cahill, Daphne Doran and Max Watson, Guidelines for nursing homes delivering end-of-life care to residents with dementia across the island of Ireland, Quality in Ageing and Older Adults, 13, 1, 2012, 60-71
Quality in Ageing and Older Adults 13 1
Purpose – This study aims to contribute to improving quality of life for people with end stage dementia
living in residential care settings by investigating the experiences of elderly spouses whose relatives
died with end-stage dementia in nursing homes in both Northern Ireland (NI) and the Republic of Ireland
(RoI). A second aim is to develop guidelines for nursing home staff for the delivery of quality care in
residents with end stage dementia in residential institutions.
Design/methodology/approach – This study had two phases. Phase one involved conducting
in-depth qualitative interviews with spouse caregivers whose relatives had died from dementia in long
stay care environments. Phase two entailed incorporating the information gathered through the in-depth
interviews into draft guidelines and disseminating these to a multi-disciplinary group of health service
professionals for their critical appraisal and ratification.
Findings – Findings showed that the EOL care delivered was deemed by most elderly spouses to be of
high quality, with person centred, individual, kind, professional care highly valued. Areas of
dissatisfaction noted included poor communication, lack of involvement in key decision making, and
poor symptoms control.
Originality/value – Based on the study’s findings, guidelines for the delivery of quality care in long stay
residential institutions are developed in consultation with eight health service professionals. The authors
hope these guidelines will contribute to improvements in the care of people with dementia at end of life
and will form the basis for the future development of policy, practices and procedures.
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