Radiographers asked to support people with dementia in hospice and end of life care settings

Radiographers can contribute by tailoring services and information for people in hospice and end of life care settings

Published: 04 February 2021 Patients with additional needs

Radiographers are encouraged to work with the dementia end of life care Community of Practice (CoP) to develop information for patients and families.

Hospice UK defines its community of practice as ‘a group of people who share a concern or passion, interact regularly and can create resources of their choice from guidance to policy to education.’

The dementia end of life care CoP draws in ‘skills, knowledge and confidence in providing high quality palliative and end of life care for people and their families affected by dementia’.

In October, the last meeting of 2020, Dr Tracy O’Regan was invited to speak about radiography practice for the context of advance care plans at a Community of Practice meeting held by Hospice UK in partnership with Dementia UK.

The meeting’s discussion included a specific request that radiographers work with CoP members to develop information for patients and their families about percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) insertion.

It was recognised that advanced practice and consultant sonographers occasionally work in hospice settings to provide services such as drainage of ascites. For those experiencing the end of life, the majority of interactions with clinical imaging and radiotherapy staff will take place in acute hospital settings.

Virtual breakout rooms considered the further roles of radiographers, clinical imaging and radiotherapy in a wider context such as in the role of palliative treatment and intervention in the care of people at the end of life.

The overall theme focussed on the ethics of treating and treatment, symptom control and advance care plans in the multidisciplinary community, the majority of which are provided by admiral, palliative and hospice nurses.

The Society and College of Radiographers have produced guidance on treating patients with dementia in Practice Guideline Document: Caring for People with Dementia: a clinical practice guideline for the radiography workforce (imaging and radiotherapy). Second revised edition, May 2020.

A poster summarising the guidelines for person-centred dementia care has also been released by SoR (pictured right).

Chaired by Dr Karen Harrison-Denning, Head of Research and Publications at Dementia UK and organised by Catriona Sullivan, Senior Clinical and Quality Improvement Lead at Hospice UK, CoP meetings are typically held twice a year although its frequency is increasing.