Following established principles for palliative care is essential for quality of life for people with dementia nearing the end of their lives. Excellence in palliative care involves:

  • advance care planning
  • expert symptom management
  • psychological and spiritual care
  • bereavement services for family members and caregivers (Hanson and Ersek, 2006).

Care priorities

  • feeding
  • skin care
  • bowel care
  • oral health.

Maintaining dignity means attention to:

  • personal grooming
  • use of personal clothing
  • addressing people by name
  • continuing to talk to a person, even if they no longer speak
  • respecting previously agreed care and end of life decisions
  • encouraging the presence of family members who can offer comfort
  • spiritual support, if requested
  • personal preferences, for example music, flowers, aromas, natural light, sounds and smells of nature.