You are here

  1. Home
  2. The role of the memory service in helping carers to prepare for end of life: A mixed methods study

The role of the memory service in helping carers to prepare for end of life: A mixed methods study

Objectives: The objective of the study is to explore current practice and the role taken by UK memory services in helping carers of people with dementia prepare for the end of life. Methods: We used mixed methods including a survey (48 responses/51% response rate) and semistructured interviews (n = 12) with clinicians working in UK memory services accredited by the Memory Services National Accreditation Programme. We used descriptive statistics to report survey findings and thematically analysed interview and survey qualitative data. Results: Surveys: services routinely discussed with carers the progressive nature of dementia (89%), legal arrangements (health: 72%; finances: 74%), advance care planning (63%), and implications of loss of capacity (61%). Fewer services routinely discussed the terminal nature of dementia (41%) and meaning of death (11%) with carers. Most (89%) agreed that these conversations were in line with their role. Interview findings corresponded with survey findings. Themes included diagnosis considered too early to discuss end of life, discussions being inconsistent with a “living well” approach, people with dementia being resistant to conversations, and discussions of spirituality crossing professional boundaries. Services' capacity for follow‐up with carers impacted on ability to broach these topics. Conclusions: More in‐depth and distressing topics such as end of life and advance care planning require longer follow‐up to establish relationships to broach difficult topics. Variability in follow‐up practices between services created inequity in the extent to which memory services could address these topics. More research is required to investigate the best method for broaching these topics with carers and the person with mild dementia within different health care contexts.

Access source material through DOI

Key Information

Type of Reference
Type of Work
Journal article
John Wiley & Sons Inc
Publication Year
Issue Number
Journal Titles
International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Volume Number
Start Page
End Page