Implementing evidence based guidance for dementia palliative care through participatory action research

Dementia is a progressive illness and as the condition progresses into the later stages, the person will have difficulty communicating their needs particularly in relation to thirst, hunger, pain or discomfort. In Ireland persons with dementia are often cared for in Long Term Care (LTC) settings. Carers of persons with dementia can learn ways in which to recognise those needs and provide care that is person-centred. Palliative care from diagnosis to end of life has been acknowledged as being very complex for people with dementia and there have been calls from health care staff for guidance in this area.

Recently, the Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) along with researchers at UCC developed three guidance documents specifically related to pain, hydration and nutrition and medication management. These guidance documents were developed using the best evidence available from international research. This project is an extension of this work in partnership with the IHF. The aim of this project is to introduce the guidance documents into practice, in three LTC sites, then to examine and evaluate how the guidance influences practice of palliative care for persons with dementia. To conduct this project we will work closely and actively with the nurses and staff, residents and family in the three sites to implement the changes in practice. The Health Service Executive has committed to release a Clinical Development Co-Ordinator, at each site who will act as a facilitaor to support the research team in educating staff in assessing and managing pain, hydration & nutrition and medication and changing practice. It is envisaged that this change will bring about improvements in practice that are relevant and responsive to the complexities of providing quality care for persons with dementia.


Award Date
28 September 2017
Award Value
Principal Investigator
Professor Alice Coffey
Host Institution
University of Limerick
Applied Partnership Awards