Dr Gillian Carter (QUB) – Supporting General Practitioners in Northern Ireland in the care of dementia patients as they near the end of life
The general practitioner (GP) is in a pivotal position to initiate and adapt end of life care for their patients living with dementia. A postal survey was conducted to gauge GPs’ perceptions of the provision of good quality palliative care in dementia in Northern Ireland. The survey was also conducted in the Netherlands, where specialist elderly care physicians oversee palliative care in dementia. Barriers to palliative care in dementia were perceived to be a dementia knowledge deficit for healthcare staff and the public; a resource shortfall within the GP practice and community; poor team coordination alongside inappropriate dementia care provision, and disagreements from and within families. This presentation discusses these findings and how they have significant implications for educators and clinicians as enhanced dementia education and training were highlighted as a strong agenda for GPs, with the suggestions of dementia awareness programs for the public. It further explains that the findings also promote enhanced training in dementia management for GPs; and that the international comparison provides confirmation that there is a better way to deliver end of life care for people with dementia. The presentation aims to offer some insight into how to move towards a model of best practice in Northern Ireland.