What Constitutes Good Quality End-of-Life Care? Perspectives of People With Intellectual Disabilities and Their Families

Kumaresan Cithambaram, Mel Duffy, Eileen Courtney

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Abstract

Background: Due to increased life expectancy, just as with the general population, people with intellectual disabilities are
experiencing, and dying from, chronic and life-limiting conditions. This has led to an increase in the need for end-of-life care for
people with intellectual disabilities. However, there is limited evidence as to what constitutes good end-of-life care from the perspectives
of people with intellectual disabilities and their family members.
Methods: The study reported here aimed to find out the care needs of people with intellectual disabilities at the end of life in Ireland.
A grounded theory approach was employed to explore the perspectives of the participants. After obtaining appropriate ethical
approval, 19 semi-structured individual interviews were carried out with 11 people with mild and moderate intellectual disabilities
and eight family members to collect data which was subsequently analyzed through constant comparative analysis.
Results: The views of the participants suggested that providing personal care while vulnerable and dying, being with and communicating
with the dying person, and meeting their spiritual needs, were considered as being essential at the end of life for people with
intellectual disabilities.
Conclusion: The findings from this study have shown that people with intellectual disabilities can engage with those around them
and demonstrate how they would like to be cared for, and discuss what would be considered as being good care at the end of life.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities
Early online date19 Jan 2021
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online date - 19 Jan 2021

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