The Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance (WHPCA) has partnered with Dynamic Dementia to highlight the palliative care needs of people with dementia and the benefits of a palliative care approach in supporting people with dementia and their carers.
Palliative care and dementia
Palliative care has been widely recognised as a key approach to improve the quality of life of people living with, and dying from, dementia, and their carers.
The WHPCA issued a Statement at the first WHO Ministerial Conference on Global Action against Dementia held from 16-17 March 2015 in Geneva. This included a request to Ministers of Health to develop national dementia strategies explicitly referencing palliative care.
According to the WHPCA: “As our populations age, it is absolutely fundamental that we build health and social care services around the world to provide person centred care right through the life course to the end of life.
“There is always something that can be done, even when cure is not possible, and the palliative care approach should be available to all those living with, and dying from, dementia and other life-limiting conditions.”
The WHO and WHPCA Global Atlas on Palliative Care At the End of Life suggests that over 315,000 people who die of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia require palliative care at the end of life each year. This is likely to be a significant under-estimation.
As well as improving the quality of life and death of people living with dementia, palliative care, through the multidisciplinary team approach, provides vital support for carers and family members. This approach should be available in many settings including the home, residential and long term care centres, the community and hospitals.
Barriers to the provision of quality palliative care for people with dementia include late diagnosis, particularly in low and middle income countries, and lack of integrated hospice and palliative care knowledge among healthcare professionals caring for people with dementia.
According to the Dynamic Dementia project: “Dementia is not just a medical, but a social, cultural and human rights issue too,” a statement that holds true for any disease requiring palliative care.
Claire Morris, WHPCA advocacy advisor, will work with the project to provide information on palliative care in dementia.
‘I am still here’
The project plans to release a full length documentary: ‘I am still here’ looking at stories, voices and issues on dementia from around the globe.
According to the project website: “the documentary will profile as many types of the condition as possible.
“It will raise relevant issues and questions concerning approaches to providing support and help for individuals with neurodegenerative brain change, the social stigma surrounding dementia, how to identify unmet needs, future provision options and possibilities for needed culture change, as well as tracking policy and actions made by governments and organisations on a global scale.
“It will also look at lower/middle income countries and some of the difficulties ahead (with 60% of all people living with dementia living in these counties).”
Visit the Dynamic Dementia website to find out more.