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Earlier initiation of palliative care in the disease trajectory of people living with dementia: a scoping review protocol.

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While the need for palliative care for people living with dementia has widely been recognised, they continue to be a disadvantaged group when it comes to timely initiation, and controversies remain regarding appropriate timing, or what elements constitute high quality palliative care early in the disease trajectory. To date, no literature review has summarised this debate or offered insights. The aim of this scoping review is to provide a general overview of research regarding palliative care in mild or moderate dementia, to identify existing controversies, and to examine what are key components of palliative care in dementia, specifically when initiated earlier in the disease trajectory.

Methods and analysis

Consistent with recent guidelines and the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses Extension for Scoping Reviews, we carried out a search for academic literature in PubMed, CINAHL, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, PsycINFO, Web of Science; on 5 November 2019 and an updated search on 2 February 2021. We will include studies with different study designs published in English over the last decade that focused on palliative care in early stages of dementia. We will include models targeting at least one outcome domain of palliative care (physical, psychological, social or spiritual) and advance care planning, and will exclude hospice models with limited prognosis similar to the requirements in the USA. We will report study characteristics and quality. We aim to apply narrative synthesis techniques to develop a theoretical model of how, for whom and why palliative care can be relevant in early stages of dementia, and what are facilitators and barriers. We anticipate to also describe if and how the concept of (early) palliative care in dementia changed across time and studies.

Ethics and dissemination

No ethical review required. Results will identify research gaps and lay out basic principles for conceptualising palliative care in early stages of dementia.

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