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Healthcare professionals may improve palliative care for residents with advanced dementia by improving communication with residents’ caregivers, a recent study found. 

Researchers also discovered a correlation between the trust caregivers had in the healthcare team and positive care outcomes for the residents with dementia.  

More than 200 family caregivers of those with dementia across 25 nursing homes participated in the study. It looked at the associations between trust and areas such as family caregiver satisfaction, involvement in care, care burden and patients’ symptom burden.

Higher trust was significantly associated with better outcomes. The positive care outcomes included higher family satisfaction and positive evaluations of physician-family communication. 

The majority of participants trusted physicians, nurses and nurses’ aides at a moderate-to-high level. One-third of participants trusted the healthcare professional at a moderate-to-low level.

Results appeared in Geriatrics and Gerontology International in July. Researchers, led by Jannie A. Boogaard, were from the Netherlands and Israel.