Quality of Life at the End of Life for Nursing Home Residents: Perceptions of Hospice and Nursing Home Staff Members

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psychosocial assessment, quality of life, end of life, nursing homes, nurses, hospice

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This study examined whether the perceptions of nursing staff members about the importance of quality-of-life domains and their perceived ability to influence those domains for residents at the end of life were affected by their institutional affiliation, level of training, or residents' cognitive status. Respondents were 146 Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) and Registered Nurses (RNs) from nursing homes and hospices. Magnitude estimation scales were used to rate the importance of and perceived ability to influence 11 quality-of-life domains for both cognitively intact and cognitively impaired residents. Overall, respondents' scores indicated a high level of importance of all quality-of-life domains and similarly positive perceptions that they could influence quality-of-life domains for hypothetical nursing home residents. Analysis of variance revealed that respondents reported lower average importance and ability to influence ratings when considering residents with cognitive impairment. Respondents affiliated with hospice agencies also reported lower average importance and ability to influence ratings on some domains, although the high ratings overall limit the clinical significance of these differences. Importance ratings were not affected by the level of education, but CNAs reported higher perceived ability to influence ratings on four domains than did RNs. Future studies should explore whether the domains measured adequately capture the end-of-life experience in nursing homes

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Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, v. 35, issue 1, p. 1-9