Palliative care has come a long way from the beginnings of the modern hospice movement in the 1960s and is now widely understood as an essential part of care for the whole person during life-limiting illness and at end-of-life.
Increasingly we are aware of the importance of being able to provide palliative care when and where it is needed and this often means involving palliative care earlier in the course of illness and not just in hospital or hospice, but at home and in residential care.
Alongside these developments, dementia has become a leading cause of death in many nations, something which is still relatively new to our experience, but which can be expected to increase.
As a result, the interaction of palliative care with the end-of-life needs of a person with dementia has never been more important or prevalent and yet this is not widely addressed in literature and clinical support.
As the authors of The Palliative Care Handbook (ninth edition) point out, too often people with dementia miss out on palliative care referrals and treatments that could make such a difference for them in their final days. Which is why this new edition is so vital. Not only have the highly regarded clinical and pharmacological guidelines been fully updated, extensive notes and advice have been included for the first time specifically addressing the end-of-life needs of people with dementia.
To accomplish this, original author, Prof Rod MacLeod and new author, Dr Stephen Macfarlane, have used their extensive expertise and experience to add many important
insights and guidelines for palliative care in the context of dementia.
There is no doubt that this new edition of The Palliative Care Handbook will continue to support excellence in palliative care around the world and now also support a growing awareness of the palliative needs of people with dementia.
A/Prof Colm Cunningham – Director of the Dementia Centre, HammondCare
Mary Schumacher – Chief Executive, Hospice New Zealand