Hospice interventions for persons living with dementia, family members and clinicians: A systematic review

Rebecca K.F. Lassell, Laura T. Moreines, Matthew R. Luebke, Karandeep S. Bhatti, Kevin J. Pain, Abraham A. Brody, Elizabeth A. Luth

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Hospice care was initially designed for seriously ill individuals with cancer. Thus, the model and clinicians were geared toward caring for this population. Despite the proportion of persons living with dementia (PLWD) receiving hospice care substantially increased over the past 10 years, and their longer lengths of stay, established hospice interventions for this population are scarce. No systematic review has previously evaluated those interventions that do exist. We synthesized hospice intervention studies for PLWD, their families, and hospice professionals by describing the types of interventions, participants, outcomes, and results; assessing study quality; and identifying promising intervention strategies. Methods: A systematic review was conducted using a comprehensive search of five databases through March 2021 and follow-up hand searches. Included studies were peer-reviewed, available in English, and focused on hospice interventions for persons with dementia, and/or care partners, and clinicians. Using pre-determined inclusion and exclusion criteria, data was extracted guided by the Cochrane Checklist, and quality was assessed using a 26-item Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) Checklist. Results: The search identified 3235 unique studies in total, of which 10 studies met inclusion criteria. The search revealed three types of interventions: clinical education and training, usual care plus care add-on services, and “other” delivered to 707 participants (mostly clinicians). Five studies included underrepresented racial and ethnic groups. Outcomes measured knowledge and skills, psychosocial and health outcomes, feasibility, and acceptability, with significant improvements in six studies. Study quality was reflective of early-stage research with clinical education and training strategies showing deliberate progression towards real-world efficacy testing. Implications: Hospice interventions for PLWD are sparse and in early-phase research. More research is needed with rigorous designs, diverse samples, and outcomes considering the concordance of care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2134-2145
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2022


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • caregivers
  • end-of-life
  • hospice
  • quality of care
  • Hospice Care
  • Humans
  • Family
  • Dementia/therapy
  • Hospices
  • Neoplasms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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