Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Study finds seeing a single GP could be better for dying dementia patients

Continuity of care could help prevent dementia patients taking multiple trips to hospital (PA)
Continuity of care could help prevent dementia patients taking multiple trips to hospital (PA)

Seeing a single GP could help prevent dementia patients taking multiple trips to hospital as they near the end of their lives, a new study suggests.

It has been previously suggested that dementia patients who visit the hospital multiple times as they approach death have “poor end-of-life care”.

Researchers, led by a team from King’s College London, set out to examine the link between the number of times a dementia patient is admitted to hospital in their last 90 days of life and whether or not they received “continuity of care” from the same GP.

Their study, published in the British Journal of General Practice, looked at the records of patients from 952 GP surgeries across the UK.

This was cross-referenced with hospital admissions data and information from the Office for National Statistics.

The team examined data of almost 34,000 people with an average age of 87 who died between 2009 and 2018 with a diagnosis of dementia.

Among this group 1,894 people had multiple hospital admissions in the last 90 days of their lives.

Participants with “more GP contacts” had higher risk of multiple hospital admissions while those who were more likely to be under the care of the same GP had a lower risk of admission, the researchers found.

Those whose end of life care needs had been identified were also less likely to visit the hospital on numerous occasions.

The authors concluded: “This study found that people with dementia who had better continuity of care with GPs were less likely to have multiple hospital admissions in the last 90 days of life, in particular if they lived at home and had multiple comorbidities.”

Gavin Terry, head of policy at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “For people with dementia receiving end-of-life care, GPs are a vital gateway to specialist care and support.

“People with dementia deserve good end-of-life care.

“Continuity of care is so important for better management and treatment of conditions and palliative care needs and lowers the risk of complications that result in hospital admissions, which can be distressing and disruptive for people and their families.

“We know that the pandemic has put GP services under immense pressure, but government should be working urgently with the NHS to improve access to GP care, including increasing capacity.

“We are also calling for a dedicated dementia support worker in each primary care network to provide specialist healthcare support to help bridge the gap between families affected by dementia and support available in their area to help them avoid ending up in crisis.”