Marie Curie calls for new focus on care for people dying of dementia

Categories: Care.

In a recent Scottish study, just 20% of those with possible dementia are identified as requiring palliative care, compared to 75% of those with cancer.

A new report from Marie Curie, published today, outlines the barriers which prevent people with dementia from accessing palliative care and the impact of this lack of this care on patients, their families and the health service.

Among the barriers identified, the report highlights that some healthcare professionals fail to recognise dementia as a terminal illness.

Marie Curie is calling on the Scottish Government to: 

  • ensure that, regardless of diagnosis, people who might benefit from palliative care are accessing it
  • focus on collecting robust data in order to ensure that there is a clear national picture of the level and quality of care being received by those with dementia and at the end of their life
  • make end of life care a core part of its future national dementia strategy to ensure it is being offered to patients

Richard Meade, head of policy and public affairs, Scotland said: “Many people with dementia who are coming to the end of their lives do not get the care that they need. People dying with dementia have very specific and different needs to those with other conditions, such as cancer. 

“The Scottish Government and its partners have made important progress with the first two dementia strategies, but there remain a number of barriers that are preventing patients from getting the support that they need. Ensuring that all people at the end of life that need palliative care get it, regardless of their diagnosis, must be a priority.

“Unfortunately we cannot see a clear picture of what end of life care looks like for someone with dementia as there is no readily available national or local data. We urge the Scottish Government to collect and publish robust data to monitor and improve care.”

‘Living and dying with dementia in Scotland: barriers to care’ can be downloaded from the Marie Curie website.

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