Preparedness for End of Life—a Survey of Jerusalem District Nursing Homes

Authors


Abstract

Objectives

To evaluate the quality of end-of-life (EOL) care in nursing homes.

Design

Survey and semistructured interviews.

Setting

Jerusalem district nursing homes.

Participants

Staff members of 28 long-term care and skilled nursing facilities in the Jerusalem area in Israel of various ethnic, religious, and administrative affiliations (N = 207).

Measurements

Qualitative analysis of semistructured interviews and statistical analysis of questionnaires.

Results

Most staff members reported that EOL preferences were unknown for more than 90% of residents and that fewer than 10% had a healthcare proxy. Most staff members recalled conducting fewer than five EOL conversations over the past year with residents or family members and could recall fewer than five cases in which a resident was allowed to die in the nursing home. According to staff opinions the prevalence of tube feeding was estimated at greater than 10%, initiated because of aspiration, malnutrition, and understaffing, often against family's preferences. More than 25% of staff members believed that pain management was inadequate. Knowledge about management of chronic pain was poor in half of nurses and nearly one-third of physicians. Most staff would rather not receive the treatments they administered to residents.

Conclusion

Nursing homes in Jerusalem lack competency for quality EOL care, and there are multiple psychological, training, and policy challenges to improvement.

Ancillary