Caring for people with dementia

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39429.434907.80 (Published 31 January 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:225
  1. Murna Downs, professor in dementia studies1,
  2. Barbara Bowers, associate dean for research and Helen Denne Schulte professor 2
  1. 1Bradford Dementia Group, University of Bradford, Bradford BD5 OBB
  2. 2School of Nursing, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53792-2455, USA
  1. m.downs{at}bradford.ac.uk

    The focus should be on what can be done rather than on the lack of a cure

    In the accompanying prospective cohort study, Xie and colleagues show that people can live for several years after being diagnosed as having dementia and many are already frail at the time of diagnosis.1 The authors estimated survival times after the onset of dementia in 438 people according to age, self reported health, disability, and severity of cognitive impairment. The estimated median survival time from the onset of dementia was 4.1 years (interquartile range 2.5-7.6) for men and 4.6 years (2.9-7.0) for women. Survival between the youngest (56-69 years) and oldest people (≥90 years) differed by nearly seven years. Sex, age of onset, and disability significantly predicted mortality in the presence of dementia. The study shows that dementia is a terminal condition, the course of which unfolds with coexisting age related impairment and …

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