Family Satisfaction with Care of a Dying Loved One in Nursing Homes: What Makes the Difference?

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As part of a larger study examining end-of-life care in nursing homes, qualitative focus groups were conducted with bereaved family members to explicate those factors contributing to satisfaction and dissatisfaction with end-of-life care in the nursing home setting. Content analysis of focus group data revealed two overarching themes that influenced family members' satisfaction with care. These included: (a) ability of staff to recognize signs of imminent dying, and (b) communication and information sharing about the resident's status and plan of care. Family members dissatisfied with their relative's end-of-life care expressed feelings of guilt, anger, and frustration, both while the resident was alive and in the bereavement period. The findings of this study have implications for clinicians committed to delivering quality end-of-life care to residents and their families and provides the basis for educational interventions and quality care improvement initiatives in the long-term care setting.

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