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Preparedness for death and adjustment to bereavement among caregivers of recently placed nursing home residents

Preparedness for death and adjustment to bereavement among caregivers of recently placed nursing home residents

Journal of Palliative Medicine 18(2): 127-133

Preparedness for death as a predictor of post-bereavement adjustment has not been studied prospectively. Little is known about pre-death factors associated with feeling prepared prior to the death of a loved one. Our aim was to prospectively assess the role of preparedness for death as a predictor of post-bereavement adjustment in informal caregivers (CGs) who experienced the death of their loved one and to identify predictors and correlates of complicated grief, depression, and preparedness for death among informal CGs. We conducted a prospective, longitudinal study using data collected for a randomized trial testing the efficacy of an intervention for CGs of recently placed care recipients (CRs). Subjects were 217 informal CGs of care recipients recently placed in nursing homes, and they were followed for 18 months. CGs were assessed in person by certified interviewers at 6-month intervals. Eighty-nine CGs experienced the death of their loved one in the course of the study. Measurements used included preparedness for death, advance care planning (ACP), complicated grief, depression, and sociodemographic characteristics. CGs who reported feeling more prepared for the death experienced lower levels of complicated grief post-bereavement. A multivariate ordinal logistic regression model showed that spouses as opposed to adult child CGs were less prepared for the death, depressed CGs were less prepared, and patients who engaged in ACP had CGs who felt more prepared. CR overt expressions about wanting to die was also related to higher levels of preparedness in the CG. We show prospectively that preparedness for death facilitates post-bereavement adjustment and identify factors associated with preparedness. ACP can be an effective means for preparing informal CGs for the death of their CRs.

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Accession: 058609336

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 25469737

DOI: 10.1089/jpm.2014.0309

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