End-of-life care for people with dementia on a green care farm during the COVID-19 pandemic: a qualitative study

Kirsten D Smit*, Sascha R Bolt, Bram de Boer, Hilde Verbeek, Judith M M Meijers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


OBJECTIVE: Green care farms combine agriculture production with health-related, social and educational services. In the Netherlands, they form an alternative to traditional nursing homes for people with dementia. Green care farms that offer 24-hour care, also offers end-of-life care. To date, little is known about end-of-life care for people with dementia on green care farms. This study aimed to explore the experiences of healthcare workers and family caregivers with end-of-life care for people with dementia who died on a green care farm.

DESIGN: An explorative, descriptive qualitative design with a phenomenological approach.

SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: A purposive sample of 15 participants - seven healthcare workers and eight family caregivers - from three green care farms in the Netherlands.

METHODS: Semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted to explore participants' experiences with end-of-life care, including topics such as advance care planning, the influence of COVID-19, and bereavement support. Transcripts were thematically analysed using Braun and Clarke's approach.

RESULTS: Four main themes were extracted: 1) tailored care and attention for the individual resident, 2) reciprocal care relationships between healthcare workers and family caregivers, 3) compassionate care and support in the dying phase, and 4) the influence of COVID-19 on end-of-life care.

CONCLUSION AND IMPLICATIONS: The overall experience of the healthcare workers and family caregivers was that end-of-life care offered on green care farms is person-centred and compassionate and is tailored to the person with dementia and their family caregivers. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare workers and family caregivers were satisfied with end-of-life care on the green care farms. Green care farms may offer a valuable alternative care setting for people with dementia in their last phase of life. More research is needed to investigate green care farms'benefits compared to other, more traditional settings.

Original languageEnglish
Article number956
Number of pages8
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec 2022


  • Humans
  • Dementia/epidemiology
  • Pandemics
  • COVID-19
  • Terminal Care
  • Caregivers
  • Qualitative Research

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