Developing best practice palliative care for people with dementia

One in three people will die with or from dementia highlighting the need for a high-level international approach to addressing deficits in palliative care for people living with dementia.

St Giles Hospice is a leading provider of palliative care, hospice services, community nursing and care planning in the UK.

HammondCare is a health and aged care charity specialising in dementia care and design, palliative care, advance care planning, and related research. From Australia originally, HammondCare also offers services internationally, including in the UK.

HammondCare spokesperson, Colm Cunningham, Director of the Dementia Centre, said the organisation was pleased to enhance its positive relationship with St Giles Hospice by developing a focused collaboration on how to deliver the best possible palliative care to people living with dementia.

“Dementia has become a leading cause of death in many countries, something relatively new to our experience but expected to increase. As a result, the interaction of palliative care with the end-of-life needs of a person with dementia has never been more important or prevalent,” Mr Cunningham said.

“We are involved daily in the delivery of compassionate palliative care for people with dementia, and it is also a key area of research. This partnership is a vital next step in further developing and sharing this expertise.”

St Giles Chief Executive Officer, Emma Hodges, said finding a like-minded partner with dementia and palliative care expertise was crucial to advancing this important area of care.

“I’ve been concerned about palliative care for people with dementia for some time, particularly in regard to evidence that suggests physical pain is poorly diagnosed and treated, creating frustration and distress,” Mrs Hodges said.

“You cannot take services developed for people with cancer and assume they will suit people with dementia. This partnership will enhance and complement our existing services by providing improvements in the care of people dying with dementia based on international best practice”.

Background Information

St Giles Hospice and HammondCare International partnership

HammondCare and St Giles Hospice have been working together and sharing knowledge for a number of years and believe a partnership approach to dementia care in the context of palliative care is positive way forward.

St Giles Hospice provides services in four locations across a population of about 850,000 in the UK. These include:

  • thirty one specialist beds plus six beds funded through Continuing Health Care (CHC)
  • specialist community nursing
  • day hospice and hospice at home provision.

In addition, St Giles has focused on developing its relationship with its community and provides a wide range of activities to support both wellbeing and the engagement of groups in discussions around death, dying, bereavement and care planning.

HammondCare began during the Great Depression providing housing relief for destitute families and by the 1950s had become one of Australia’s first providers of integrated aged care. Focus shifted to dementia in the 1990s with the development of evidence-based dementia design and care, including the world-renowned cottage model of residential dementia care. HammondCare’s Dementia Centre is another key outworking of this approach.

Expansion into sub-acute health and hospitals in 2008 enabled a convergence of dementia care and palliative care and now HammondCare International is developing learning and research opportunities in the UK and beyond.

Partnership focus

Subject to securing new funding, three immediate areas of focus are:

  1. Supporting more people with dementia to stay at home if that is their wish and suits their circumstances.
  2. Reviewing palliative care symptom control, in particular pain.
  3. Reviewing the provision of education.

Media: For more information and to arrange interviews or photos, please contact Peter Hallett, HammondCare at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Emma Hodges, St Giles at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..