Families' Experiences With End-of-Life Care in Nursing Homes and Associations With Dying Peacefully With Dementia

Sascha R. Bolt*, Laura Verbeek, Judith M. M. Meijers, Jenny T. van der Steen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

28 Citations (Web of Science)


Objectives: To examine family caregivers' experiences with end-of-life care for nursing home residents with dementia and associations with the residents dying peacefully.

Design: A secondary data analysis of family caregiver data collected in the observational Dutch End of Life in Dementia (DEOLD) study between 2007 and 2010.

Setting and participants: Data were collected at 34 Dutch nursing homes (2799 beds) representing the nation. We included 252 reports from bereaved family members of nursing home residents with dementia.

Measures: The primary outcome was dying peacefully, assessed by family members using an item from the Quality of Dying in Long-term Care instrument. Unpleasant experiences with end-of-life care were investigated using open-ended questions. Overall satisfaction with end-of-life care was assessed with the End-of-Life Satisfaction With Care (EOLD-SWC) scale, and families' appraisal of decision making was measured with the Decision Satisfaction Inventory. Associations were investigated with multilevel linear regression analyses using generalized estimating equations.

Results: Families' reports of unpleasant experiences translated into 2 themes: neglect and lack of respect. Neglect involved facing inaccessibility, disinterest, or discontinuity of relations, and negligence in tailored care and information. Lack of respect involved perceptions of being purposefully disregarded, an insensitive approach towards resident and family, noncompliance with agreements, and violations of privacy. Unpleasant experiences with end-of-life care were negatively associated with families' perceptions of the resident dying peacefully. Families' assessment of their relative dying peacefully was positively associated with satisfaction with end-of-life care and decision making.

Conclusions/Implications: Families' reports of unpleasant experiences with end-of-life care may inform practice to improve perceived quality of dying of their loved ones. Humane and compassionate care and attention from physicians and other staff for resident and family may facilitate recollections of a peaceful death. (C) 2018 AMDA - The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)268-272
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Medical Directors Association
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


  • Dementia
  • end-of-life care
  • family caregivers
  • nursing homes
  • quality of dying

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