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A survey on the view of end-of-life care in the elderly -a comparison among elderly patients, family members. physicians, nurses, and other caregivers

A survey on the view of end-of-life care in the elderly -a comparison among elderly patients, family members. physicians, nurses, and other caregivers

Nihon Ronen Igakkai Zasshi. Japanese Journal of Geriatrics 45(1): 50-58

The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of geriatric physicians in end-of-life care through surveying elderly patients, their families, and health-care providers including physicians, nurses, and other caregivers, in order to determine what comprises good end-of-life care. The survey respondents comprised 148 elderly patients, 76 members of their families, 105 physicians, 784 nurses, and 193 other caregivers. The survey asked respondents to rate the importance of (a) indicators of end-of-life in the elderly and (b) 17 aspects of quality of end-of-life care. With respect to indicators of end-of-life in the elderly, a patient being consistently critically ill was rated highly by all health-care providers (>70% responded that this indicated end-of-life). Being unable to perform the activities of daily life was considered an indicator of end-of-life by 36% of patients and 45% of their family members, but only by 23% of physicians, 8% of nurses, and 24% of other caregivers. For quality of end-of-life care, four items were rated as being important by all groups (>70% in each group): palliation of pain, freedom from anxiety regarding death, ability to spend time with close friends or family, and being respected. However, respecting the patient's principles and lifestyle was thought to be less important by patients (16.1%) and family members (28.2%) than it was by physicians (63.8%). Death at home was also thought to be less important by patients (21.0%) and family members (7.1%) than by physicians (37.5%). Elderly patients and their families have different views from their health-care providers on matters related to good end-of-life care. Geriatric physicians should pay attention to not only the care of patients' physical needs, but also other needs of the patients and their families.

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Accession: 051269640

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PMID: 18332573

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