Palliative care aimed at managing pain and other symptoms may be more appropriate for some frail elderly nursing home patients than more aggressive treatments, two new federally funded studies suggest. Dialysis treatment not only failed to improve the quality of life of elderly nursing home residents with kidney failure but also may further their decline, one study found. A second study indicated patients with serious dementia -- which researchers said should be considered a terminal illness at the end stages -- tend to die within six months regardless of the treatment provided.

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