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Title: Type and course of symptoms demonstrated in the terminal and dying phases by people with dementia in nursing homes
Authors : Koppitz, Andrea Luise
Bosshard, Georg
Händler-Schuster, Daniela
Hediger, Hannele
Imhof, Lorenz
Published in : Zeitschrift für Gerontologie und Geriatrie
Volume(Issue) : 48
Issue : 2
Pages : 176
Pages to: 183
Publisher / Ed. Institution : Springer
Issue Date: 2015
License (according to publishing contract) : Licence according to publishing contract
Type of review: Peer review (Publication)
Language : English
Subjects : Dementia; Nursing home; Symptom; Palliative care; Terminal phase
Subject (DDC) : 616.8: Neurology, diseases of nervous system
Abstract: Background In all, 39 % of people living in Swiss nursing homes suffer from dementia. Detailed data about type and course of symptoms displayed by these patients in their terminal phase are lacking. Methods This descriptive, retrospective study analysed 65 nursing documents from deceased people with dementia in four nursing homes in the canton of Zurich, Switzerland. Results Difficulties with mobility (81 %), pain (71 %) and sleep disturbance (63 %) were the most frequent of the 10 identified symptoms. Towards the end of life, difficulties with mobility, sleep disturbance, agitation and other neuropsychiatric symptoms, such as episodes of depression, decreased (decrescent pattern), while pain, feeding problems, breathing abnormalities, apathy and anxiety increased (crescent pattern). Courses of pain were documented in 17 % of the nursing records. In addition, 76 % of the residents had been visited on a daily basis by next of kin in their last 7 days, compared with only one third of residents previously. Furthermore, daily communication between healthcare professionals and next of kin tripled during this period. Conclusion The documented prevalence of a high and increasing level of pain towards the end of life, combined with the lack of documented courses of pain, shows potential for improvement in pain relief and pain identification for patients with dementia in their terminal phase. The increasing number of visits by next of kin and the increasingly intensive contact between healthcare professionals and next of kin in the last 7 days are a strong indicator that the end of life can be predicted relatively well by the involved participants and appropriate reactions follow.
Further description : Erworben im Rahmen der Schweizer Nationallizenzen (
Departement: Health Professions
Publication type: Article in scientific Journal
DOI : 10.1007/s00391-014-0668-z
ISSN: 0948-6704
Restricted until : 2020-01-01
Published as part of the ZHAW project : Palliative Care bei demenziell erkrankten Personen in Pflegeheimen im Kanton Zürich
Appears in Collections:Publikationen Gesundheit

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