Can a community of practice enhance a palliative approach for people drawing close to death with dementia?
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This action research study was conducted to trial a strategy intended to support a consistent, high-quality, palliative approach for people with dementia drawing close to death-the implementation of a community of practice. Professionals from community/residential care and hospitals formed this community of practice, which took on the role of an action research group. The group was supported to identify and address practice problems. Four action plans were implemented; outcomes from two are reported. When actioning the plan 'providing education and information for the staff', the staff's ratings of sessions and resources were positive but impacts upon knowledge, views, or confidence were small. When actioning 'supporting families', families providing care in non-hospital settings received information about severe dementia from suitably prepared staff, plus contact details to access support. Family feedback was primarily positive. Reference to additional practice change frameworks and inclusion of specialist palliative care professionals are recommendations for future initiatives; also focusing on targeted, achievable goals over longer timeframes.
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