Identifying people with dementia who may benefit from palliative care

Read more about our research that aims to support GPs to identify people who are in need of end of life care at the right time so they can access the support they need. 

Lead Investigator: Corrina Grimes

  • Institution: Global Brain Health Institute, GP practices across Northern Ireland
  • Grant type: GBHI pilot grant
  • Duration: 12 months
  • Amount: £19,000

Summary of the research project 

Current end of life care pathways are based on the care of people with cancer, dementia is very different and can be very unpredictable meaning that care needs are not always anticipated and people with dementia miss out on receiving proper care.

Corrina Grimes’s work will test whether GPs can use an analysis tool to predict when to intervene to provide people with dementia with the same standard of care as anyone else at the end of life.

What do we already know?

Currently available palliative or end of life care is insufficient to provide adequate care for people with dementia. To date, palliative care has been strongly associated with cancer and caring for people affected by cancer in their final days and weeks.

The needs of a person with dementia at end of life are very different, less predictable and less clearly mapped out than those of a person with cancer. When palliative care is provided for a person with dementia it often comes too late and is a missed opportunity to care for and improve the quality of life of that person and those around them.

What does this project involve?

The aim of this research is to improve access to end of life care for people with dementia. To ensure that people with dementia receive appropriate, high quality care and treatment in a coordinated manner to ensure maximum quality of life and to improve the experience of their care givers.

AnticiPal is a tool which has been designed to identify people at risk of deteriorating and dying in need of a palliative care plan. This algorithim is used as an app which has been tested and modified in Scotland in GP practices. It analyses medical information and provides the doctors with a list of people that it has identified as being likely to benefit from a palliative care approach.

Corrina Grimes is the regional palliative care clinical lead for the Regional Palliative Care Programme in Northern Ireland. Her work is focused on increasing the correct identification of people with dementia in need of palliative care.  To help to do this Corrina Grimes will test AnticiPal in 20 primary care practices across Northern Ireland to provide evidence that this tool could be of use in predicting the needs of and creating a care plan for people with dementia.

This project provides the important opportunity to partner with key policy makers in the Public Health Agency (PHA) and to directly influence the quality of evidence-based policy for dementia.

Our dementia advisers are here for you.

How will this project help people with dementia? 

This pilot study will gather information to confirm that the AnticiPaL programme can be used to accurately identify the palliative care needs of people with dementia.

Corrina Grimes is the regional palliative care clinical lead for the Regional Palliative Care Programme in Northern Ireland meaning that she is in a unique position to use the findings of her research to enable people with dementia who have palliative and end of life care needs to have greater access to services and improved outcomes at the end of their lives.

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