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A literature review of palliative care, end of life, and dementia



Objective: Little attention has been paid in research to the palliative care of those dying with dementia. This literature review summarizes current research in the social sciences, including medical sociology on palliative care in the example of dementia.

Methods: A designated set of search words was applied to a comprehensive set of university-based search engines to ensure that relevant social science research since 200 was included.

Results: Primary themes discussed in the article include person-centered care, grief, agitation, aggression, pain management, care provision, training and education, decision-making, primary settings of care, and spirituality and dignity. Other key gaps in the literature are discussed.

Significance of the results: Given the projected increase within the next 20 years of people dying with dementia (Hanrahan et al., 2001), palliative care for those dying with dementia will become more relevant than ever.


Corresponding author

Corresponding author: Kerstin Stieber Roger, Manitoba Palliative Care Research Unit, CancerCare Manitoba, 675 McDermot Ave., Winnipeg, MB R3E OV9, Canada. E-mail:


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A literature review of palliative care, end of life, and dementia



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