Vol 6, No 4 Palliative Care for Dementia
Ladislav Volicer, MD, PhD. University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, USA
Palliative care, which is the basis of hospice care, was originally developed for patients with terminal cancer. In 1967, Cecily Saunders recognized that continuation of aggressive medical intervention with toxic chemotherapeutic drugs may not be in the best interest of a patient, because of the low probability that the chemotherapy will significantly prolong life. She established the first purpose-built hospice and suggested that emphasis should be placed on the quality of remaining life instead of on prolongation of life at all costs. Her goal was adding life to days instead of days to life.