End-of-Life Care: Perspectives of Family Members of Deceased Patients

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This study was undertaken to determine the opinions of family members of deceased patients regarding end-of-life care. This multisite cross-sectional survey was administered to 969 volunteer participants during 1997 to 2000. Eligible participants included immediate family members of deceased patients at five local institutions in a regional health system. Among 969 respondents, most (84.4 percent) indicated that the care for their family member was excellent. Reasons cited for satisfaction included overall care (40.2 percent), staff effort (23.2 percent), and communication (16.4 percent). Reasons cited for dissatisfaction included perceived incompetence (9.7 percent), perceived uncaring attitude (8.4 percent), and perceived understaffing (3.7 percent). Respondents were more satisfied with communication from nursing staff (88 percent) than physicians’ communication (78 percent, p < 0.001, Bowker’s test). Respondents indicated higher overall satisfaction with nursing (90 percent) and pastoral care (87 percent), than with physician care (81 percent, p < 0.001 and p = 0.006, Bowker’s test).

A unique survey instrument can be used to measure family perceptions and opinions regarding end-of-life care.



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