Nursing home practices following resident death: the experience of Certified Nursing Assistants

Geriatr Nurs. 2015 Mar-Apr;36(2):120-5. doi: 10.1016/j.gerinurse.2014.11.005. Epub 2014 Dec 29.


This study examined certified nursing assistants' (CNAs) experiences of nursing home practices following resident death. Participants were 140 CNAs who had experienced recent resident death. In semi-structured, in-person interviews, CNAs were asked about their experiences with the removal of the resident's body, filling the bed with a new resident, and how they were notified about the death. The facilities' practice of filling the bed quickly was most often experienced as negative. Responses to body removal and staff notification varied, but negative experiences were reported by a substantial minority. Being notified prior to returning to work was associated with a more positive experience. Learning about the death by walking into a room to find the bed empty or already filled was the most negative experience. Study findings suggest that more mindful approaches to the transitions related to resident deaths would be valued by CNAs and could improve their work experience.

Keywords: Long-term care; Nursing assistants; Nursing home; Resident death.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Attitude to Death
  • Death*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nursing Assistants*
  • Nursing Homes*
  • Practice Patterns, Nurses'
  • Young Adult