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Attempts to Control the End of Life in People with Dementia: Two-level Approach to Examine Controversies


Start Date
End Date
Total Funding
€ 1 988 972
Funding Programme
European Countries Involved

In dementia at the end of life, cognitive and physical decline imply that control is typically lost. CONT-END will examine control in the context of three emerging interventions which contain a controversial element of striving for control in the process of dying with dementia: advance care planning of the end of life, use of new technology to monitor symptoms when unable to self-report, and euthanasia. To perform outstanding research, the proposed research examines control at the level of clinical practice, but also at the level of end-of-life research practice. The latter provides ample opportunities for researchers to control the research process. That is, research designs are often flexible and we will study if and how this impacts research in an emotionally charged area. I will take an empirical mixed-methods approach to study the two practices in parallel. The work is organised in three related Work Packages around three research questions. (1) In a 6-country study, I will examine if and when people with dementia, family caregivers and physicians (900 respondents) find the interventions, shown on video, acceptable. (2) A cluster-randomised 3-armed controlled trial in 279 patients and their family caregivers assesses effects of two types of advance care planning differing in level of control (detailed advance treatment orders versus goal setting and coping based) on outcomes ranging from favourable to less favourable, and whether effects differ in subgroups. Cases in which the technology is preferred or applied are observed. (3) Ethnographic fieldwork in two different end-of-life research practices and a Delphi study to synthesize CONT-END’s findings assess how researchers shape findings. This greatly improves the quality of CONT-END and provides the input to develop new methodology for improving research quality and integrity.

Project partners

Academisch Ziekenhuis Leiden

Alzheimer Europe's database on research projects was developed as part of the 2020 Work Plan which received funding under an operating grant from the European Union’s Health Programme (2014–2020).