Care provider perspectives on end-of-life care in long-term-care homes: implications for whole-person and palliative care

J Palliat Care. Summer 2010;26(2):122-9.


This study holistically explores the experience of dying and end-of-life care for older persons with dementia in long-term care (LTC) from the perspective of care providers. Using a focused ethnography methodology, seven researchers interviewed LTC staff, residents' families, volunteers, management staff, and spiritual advisers/clergy over a five-day period. Research was guided by two key questions: What is the dying experience of people living in LTC from the perspective of different care providers? and, What are the salient issues in providing palliative care for elderly people dying in LTC? Based on a thematic analysis of verbatim data, three common themes were identified: tension between completing job tasks on time and "being there" for residents; the importance of family-like bonds between front-line staff and residents; and the importance of communication among staff and between staff and residents and their families at the end of life. Findings are discussed in relation to their implications for policies and practices that can support whole-person care and ultimately a good death for residents of LTC facilities.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anthropology, Cultural
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Attitude to Health
  • Dementia / therapy*
  • Holistic Nursing*
  • Homes for the Aged*
  • Humans
  • Long-Term Care
  • Nursing Homes*
  • Ontario
  • Palliative Care*
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Terminal Care*
  • Workload