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Review recommends improvements to care for patients with dementia

Mar 1, 2017
Guylaine Spencer

Pamela Durepos

Above: Pamela Durepos

Pamela Durepos, a PhD student in the School of Nursing, is the primary author of a new study, “Assessing palliative care content in dementia care guidelines,” in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. 

Durepos led a team of researchers at McMaster University and Geriatric Education and Research in Aging Sciences (GERAS) Centre in the review of eleven different dementia care guidelines. The study is timely as Ontario’s Dementia Strategy is in development. Ontario aims to be an exceptional place for people with dementia to live from diagnosis to end of life. 

The review found that dementia care guidelines focussed on disease management, physical, psychological and social care. More than half of guidelines had little or no content on end of life, spiritual or bereavement care – a clear gap. To improve care, reviewers stressed the importance of tools for advance care planning, education for families regarding end of life and bereavement support. 

Durepos, the review’s primary author, completed her Master's degree in July 2016, and was supervised by Dr. Sharon Kaasalainen, Dr. Sandra Carroll and Dr. Alexandra Papaioannou, Scientific Director at GERAS. She began her graduate nursing PhD in September with continued research focus on improving the quality of life of persons with dementia and their family caregivers. She has worked at the Hamilton General Hospital ICU for the past 13 years. 

Read the review: Durepos, P., Wickson-Griffiths, A., Hazzan, A.A., Kaasalainen, S., Vastis, V., Battistella, L., Papaioannou, A. (2017). Assessing palliative care content in dementia care guidelines, Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, DOI:

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