End-of-Life Care in Nursing Homes: The High Cost of Staff Turnover

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARYNursing home staff turnover results in high cost – both economic and personal – and has a negative impact on the quality of care provided to residents at the end of life.Reducing staff turnover in nursing homes would benefit both the cost to the U.S. health care system, and, most importantly, the care residents receive in the vulnerable period leading to death.There is rising pressure on nursing homes to improve their palliative and end-of-life care practices and reduce transfers to hospital for situations and conditions that can be safely managed on site.Nursing care staff deserve an investment in the specific training necessary for them to give the highest quality care to dying residents.This training should be multifaceted and include the physiological, psychological, spiritual, interpersonal, and cultural (including ethnic) aspects of dying.Empowerment with these necessary knowledge, skills, and attitudes will not only result in better care for residents but likely also will reduce the burnout and frustration staff experience in caring for residents near death.

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