End of life care in nursing homes: Translating focus group findings into action

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Therapeutic options for nursing home residents focus on functional improvement, while inadequate hospital admissions in the dying phase are frequent. The aim of this study was to explore views, attitudes, and concerns among staff and to embark on a process that facilitates end-of-life care on an institutional level. Three focus group interviews were conducted with nursing home staff (nurses, care managers, physicians). The discussants (22) expressed the following issues: workload; ethical conflicts; additional resources; “living palliative care”; deleterious effect of restorative aims; lack of training; fear; knowledge and skills; rituals; lack of attachment, frustration, and abuse; team; discouragement; resilience enhanced by good care; style of communication; avoidance; the “palliative status”; legal concerns and hospital admissions. Nursing home staff expressed willingness to care for the dying. Providing good end of life care may promote professional resilience and personal integrity. Therefore, team issues, fears, and avoidance should be addressed.

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