The living-dying interval in nursing home-based end-of-life care: family caregivers' experiences

J Gerontol Soc Work. 2011 Nov;54(8):768-87. doi: 10.1080/01634372.2011.596918.


Guided by concepts from the living-dying interval ( Pattison, 1977 ) this study sought to explore family members' experiences with a dying nursing home resident. In-depth interviews were conducted with 31 caregivers of residents who had died. Interviews were audiotaped and transcribed. Themes that illuminated families' experiences on the living-dying interval were: an acute medical crisis (trigger events, accumulation of stressors, level of care crisis); the living-dying phase (advance care planning, hospitalization, end-stage decisions); and the terminal phase (beginning of the end, awareness of dying). The results illustrate critical periods for social work intervention with families of dying nursing home residents.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Advance Directives
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attitude to Death*
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Concept Formation
  • Decision Making
  • Female
  • Home Care Services*
  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Psychological
  • Nursing Homes*
  • Palliative Care / psychology
  • Qualitative Research
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Social Work
  • Stress, Psychological
  • Terminal Care / psychology*
  • Time Factors