End-of-Life Care Discussion for Residents With Dementia in Long-Term Care Facilities

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Abstract

Background:

Healthcare professionals play an important role in end-of-life care decisions. Although the factors affecting end-of-life care in long-term care facilities have been well studied in Western contexts, few studies have examined factors affecting end-of-life care discussions for residents with dementia among multidisciplinary professionals in Asian or Taiwanese contexts.

Purpose:

The aim of this study was to explore the factors related to the end-of-life care discussions of registered nurses, social workers, and physicians with residents with dementia and their families.

Methods:

This is a cross-sectional and correlational study. A stratified random sampling was conducted, and self-administered questionnaires were mailed to physicians, registered nurses, and social workers who work in long-term care facilities with accreditation ranks ≥ Grade A in Taiwan.

Results:

Questionnaires were returned by 478 participants (response rate = 94.1%). Fewer than 10% of the participants reported often discussing end-of-life care with residents with dementia and their families. Physicians were significantly more likely to discuss life-sustaining treatment than nurses and social workers. The frequency of professionals discussing advance directives and life-sustaining treatment for residents with dementia was predicted by higher confidence in end-of-life care skills and greater perceived facility support.

Conclusions/Implications for Practice:

Most professionals did not frequently discuss end-of-life care with residents with dementia and their caregivers. Discussions of end-of-life care in long-term care facilities should be promoted by enhancing the confidence of these professionals in providing end-of-life care and creating a supportive environment for end-of-life discussions and care.

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