Decision Aids about Goals of Care for Advanced Dementia Can Lead to Better Palliative Care

Families and caregivers often face difficult decisions about medical treatments when it comes to taking care of patients with dementia, and making those decisions can be overwhelming.

Decision Aids about Goals of Care for Advanced Dementia Can Lead to Better Palliative Care click to enlarge Dr. Laura Hanson

Dr. Laura Hanson is a Professor of Geriatric Medicine in UNC’s Department of Medicine, and the Co-Director of UNC’s Palliative Care Program. She recently led a clinical trial testing a video decision aid to help families make these difficult choices -- often called “goals of care decisions.” The study found that the video, combined with guides to talking with nursing home providers, resulted in more agreement about treatment choices and more palliative care options. These frail patients went to the hospital half as often, with no harmful effects. Dr. Hanson says identifying specific “goals of care” will help caregivers choose the best path of treatment for a person with advanced dementia.

In a recent interview with Neurology Today, Dr. Hanson explains how her research, first published in JAMA Internal Medicine, aims to measure and improve the quality of healthcare for older patients. To read the full article, go to: Neurology Today. 

To see Dr. Hanson’s video and learn about her research, go to: Goals of Care.