“This is still more like a cancer model of care. Its time to leave that model and look more at whats needed specifically for people with dementia and caregivers.”

Palliative care has long been viewed as an end-stage option for patients with dementia who are close to death or have reached an advanced state of dementia. However, utilizing palliative care earlier in a patient’s life can prove to be more beneficial.

One of the foremost challenges of integrating this care is first erasing the negative stigma surrounding palliative care. Patients and family members often believe that being placed on palliative care is a sign that doctors have given up on them; instead, it should be viewed as an additional line of health and social support to ease the burden of disease. Also important is the incorporation of palliative care plans into national dementia strategies, where elements of palliative care can be integrated from the point of diagnosis.  

In an interview with NeurologyLive, Jenny van der Steen, PhD, associate professor at Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands, detailed why integrating palliative care with the most up to date information and resources can prove to be a positive resource for patients with dementia and their families.