• Context, mechanisms and outcomes in end of life care for people with advanced dementia

      Kupeli, N.; Leavey, G.; Moore, K.; Harrington, J.; Lord, Kathryn; King, M.; Nazareth, I.; Sampson, E.L.; Jones, L. (2016-03-10)
      Background: The majority of people with dementia in the UK die in care homes. The quality of end of life care in these environments is often suboptimal. The aim of the present study was to explore the context, mechanisms and outcomes for providing good palliative care to people with advanced dementia residing in UK care homes from the perspective of health and social care providers. Method: The design of the study was qualitative which involved purposive sampling of health care professionals to undertake interactive interviews within a realist framework. Interviews were completed between September 2012 and October 2013 and were thematically analysed and then conceptualised according to context, mechanisms and outcomes. The settings were private care homes and services provided by the National Health Service including memory clinics, mental health and commissioning services in London, United Kingdom. The participants included 14 health and social care professionals including health care assistants, care home managers, commissioners for older adults’ services and nursing staff. Results: Good palliative care for people with advanced dementia is underpinned by the prioritisation of psychosocial and spiritual care, developing relationships with family carers, addressing physical needs including symptom management and continuous, integrated care provided by a multidisciplinary team. Contextual factors that detract from good end of life care included: an emphasis on financial efficiency over person-centred care; a complex health and social care system, societal and family attitudes towards staff; staff training and experience, governance and bureaucratisation; complexity of dementia; advance care planning and staff characteristics. Mechanisms that influence the quality of end of life care include: level of health care professionals’ confidence, family uncertainty about end of life care, resources for improving end of life care and supporting families, and uncertainty about whether dementia specific palliative care is required. Conclusions: Contextual factors regarding the care home environment may be obdurate and tend to negatively impact on the quality of end of life dementia care. Local level mechanisms may be more amenable to improvement. However, systemic changes to the care home environment are necessary to promote consistent, equitable and sustainable high quality end of life dementia care across the UK care home sector
    • Development of a model for integrated care at the end of life in advanced dementia: A whole systems UK-wide approach

      Jones, L.; Candy, B.; Davis, S.; Elliott, M.; Gola, A.; Harrington, J.; Kupeli, N.; Lord, Kathryn; Moore, K.; Scott, S.; et al. (2016)
      Background: The prevalence of dementia is rising worldwide and many people will die with the disease. Symptoms towards the end of life may be inadequately managed and informal and professional carers poorly supported. There are few evidence-based interventions to improve end-of-life care in advanced dementia. Aim: To develop an integrated, whole systems, evidence-based intervention that is pragmatic and feasible to improve end-of-life care for people with advanced dementia and support those close to them. Design: A realist-based approach in which qualitative and quantitative data assisted the development of statements. These were incorporated into the RAND/UCLA appropriateness method to achieve consensus on intervention components. Components were mapped to underlying theory of whole systems change and the intervention described in a detailed manual. Setting/participants: Data were collected from people with dementia, carers and health and social care professionals in England, from expert opinion and existing literature. Professional stakeholders in all four countries of the United Kingdom contributed to the RAND/UCLA appropriateness method process. Results: A total of 29 statements were agreed and mapped to individual, group, organisational and economic/political levels of healthcare systems. The resulting main intervention components are as follows: (1) influencing local service organisation through facilitation of integrated multi-disciplinary care, (2) providing training and support for formal and informal carers and (3) influencing local healthcare commissioning and priorities of service providers. Conclusion: Use of in-depth data, consensus methods and theoretical understanding of the intervention components produced an evidence-based intervention for further testing in end-of-life care in advanced dementia.
    • What are the barriers to care integration for those at the advanced stages of dementia living in care homes in the UK? Health care professional perspective

      Kupeli, N.; Leavey, G.; Harrington, J.; Lord, Kathryn; King, M.; Nazareth, I.; Moore, K.; Sampson, E.L.; Jones, L. (2016)
      People with advanced dementia are frequently bed-bound, doubly incontinent and able to speak only a few words. Many reside in care homes and may often have complex needs requiring efficient and timely response by knowledgeable and compassionate staff. The aim of this study is to improve our understanding of health care professionals’ attitudes and knowledge of the barriers to integrated care for people with advanced dementia. In-depth, interactive interviews conducted with 14 health care professionals including commissioners, care home managers, nurses and health care assistants in the UK. Barriers to care for people with advanced dementia are influenced by governmental and societal factors which contribute to challenging environments in care homes, poor morale amongst care staff and a fragmentation of health and social care at the end of life. Quality of care for people with dementia as they approach death may be improved by developing collaborative networks to foster improved relationships between health and social care services.