Quality Care for People with Intellectual Disability and Advanced Dementia: Guidance on Service Provision



McCarron M, McCallion P, Watchman K, Janicki MP, Coppus A, Service K, Fortea J, Hogan M, Reilly E & Stemp S (2018) Quality Care for People with Intellectual Disability and Advanced Dementia: Guidance on Service Provision. Journal of Palliative Medicine, 21 (9).

Purpose of Report: The International Summit on Intellectual Disability and Dementia (Glasgow, Scotland; October 2016) noted that advanced dementia can be categorized as that stage of dementia progression characterized by significant losses in cognitive and physical function, including a high probability of further deterioration and leading to death. The questions before the summit were whether there were similarities and differences in expressions of advanced dementia between adults with intellectual disability (ID) and adults in the general population. Findings: The summit noted challenges in the staging of advanced dementia in people with ID with the criteria in measures designed to stage dementia in the general population heavily weighted on notable impairment in activities of daily living. For many people with an ID, there is already dependence in these domains generally related to the individuals pre-existing level of intellectual impairment, that is, totally unrelated to dementia. Hence, the summit agreed that it is imperative that change is measured from the person’s prior functioning in combination with clinical impressions of decline and of increasing comorbidity including particular attention to late onset epilepsy in people with Down syndrome. It was further noted that quality care planning must recognize the greater likelihood of physical symptoms, comorbidities, immobility, and neuropathological deterioration. Summary: The summit recommended an investment in research to more clearly identify measures for ascertaining advanced dementia, inform practice guidelines to aid clinicians and service providers, and identify additional markers that may help signal decline and progression into advanced dementia among people with various levels of pre-existing intellectual impairment.

advanced dementia; Down syndrome; end of life; intellectual disabilities; quality of care

Additional listed co-author: Advanced Dementia Working of the International Summit on Intellectual Disability and Dementia

Journal of Palliative Medicine: Volume 21, Issue 9

Publication date30/09/2018
Publication date online21/08/2018
Date accepted by journal28/03/2018

People (1)


Professor Karen Watchman

Professor Karen Watchman

Professor, Health Sciences Stirling