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Decision making for people living with dementia by their carers at the end of life: A rapid scoping review

Background: There are an increasing number of people living with dementia, as well as an expectation that care decisions are made collaboratively with those with the disease entering the end stage and their families. This has increased the burden on family carers. Aim: To explore the evidence on the decisional support needs of informal carers of people with end-stage dementia. Design: A rapid scoping review was undertaken of peer-reviewed publications between 2000 and 2016, which included all health-care settings and the person's own home. Six databases were searched (CINAHL, MEDLINE, EMBASE, BNI, PSYCHINFO, Web of Science) and all papers meeting the inclusion criteria were read. A thematic analysis was undertaken of the selected papers using a pragmatic approach based on how the papers addressed the research question. Results: Sixty papers were individually appraised, with 40 being included in the review. Of these papers, 11 were literature reviews and 29 were primary studies. The themes identified were: the influential factors in carer decision making, the scope of carer decision making, the conflicts/problems in carer decision making, the resources carers need to make decisions and the impact of carer decision making. Conclusion: To date, the emphasis in dementia care has been on living well with dementia, but realistically there is a need to plan for a 'good death' that includes the person and their carers. There is a need to support people with dementia and their carers to make an advance care plan, while the person with dementia can take part in the decision-making process. This proactive intervention is likely to reduce carer decision burden at end of life and facilitate achievement of death in the person's preferred place, which is usually the home or care home.

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Ma healthcare limited
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International Journal of Palliative Nursing
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