Aims and objectives: To investigate the knowledge of and attitudes towards palliative care for advanced dementia and their associations with demographics among nursing staff, including nurses and nursing assistants, in long-term care settings. Background: Nursing facilities are places where persons with dementia die; therefore, providing quality end-of-life care to residents with advanced dementia is crucial. To date, little attention has been paid to palliative care practice for patients with advanced dementia. Design: A descriptive, cross-sectional, survey design was used. Methods: In total, a sample of 300 nurses (n = 125) and nursing assistants (n = 175) working in long-term care settings in Taiwan participated in this study. Two instruments were administered: demographic characteristics and responses to the Questionnaire of Palliative Care for Advanced Dementia. Descriptive statistics and multiple regression were used for data analysis. Results: Overall, the nurses and nursing assistants had moderate mean scores for both knowledge of and attitudes regarding palliative care for advanced dementia. Additionally, nursing staff who were nurses with greater work experience and those who had received palliative care and hospice training had greater knowledge of palliative care. In addition, nursing staff who had received dementia care training and who had worked in nursing homes had higher levels of positive attitudes towards palliative care. Conclusions: This study indicates the need to provide nurses and nursing assistants with more information about palliative care practice for people with advanced dementia. Particularly, providing education to those who are nursing assistants, who have less working experience, who have not received palliative and dementia care training, and who have not worked in nursing homes can improve overall nursing staff knowledge of and attitudes towards palliative care. Relevance to clinical practice: Continuing education in principles of palliative care for advanced dementia is necessary for currently practicing nursing staff and should be developed according to their educational background and needs.
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