End-of-life care preferences of nursing home residents: Results of a cross-sectional study

Palliat Med. 2016 Oct;30(9):843-53. doi: 10.1177/0269216316634242. Epub 2016 Mar 9.


Background: Palliative care services were not available in nursing homes in Singapore. Project CARE (Care At the end-of-life for Residents in homes for the Elderly) was a pilot programme that aimed to promote advance care planning and improve end-of-life care in nursing homes.

Aim: We aimed to examine end-of-life care preferences among nursing home residents, and identify factors associated with preference for medical intervention, cardiopulmonary resuscitation and place of death.

Design and setting/participants: A cross-sectional study using data from advance care planning discussions was conducted from September 2009 to April 2012 across seven nursing homes. The advance care planning discussion was conducted with the resident (with a prognosis of 6 months or 1 year), their families and staff from the nursing home and hospital.

Results: A total of 600 residents and their families completed the advance care planning discussion. Majority (93.2%) preferred not to proceed with cardiopulmonary resuscitation, 52.3% opted for limited additional intervention at the nursing home with escalation to the hospital if necessary and 77.0% preferred to die at the nursing home. Residents 85+ years (relative risk ratio: 3.34, 95% confidence interval: 1.13-9.93, p = 0.030) were more likely to prefer medical intervention at the nursing home only. No associations were found with the preference for cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Residents who were single, or who were Christians or Catholics (adjusted odds ratio: 2.09, 95% confidence interval: 1.04-4.19, p = 0.039), were more likely to prefer to die at the nursing home.

Conclusion: Preferences for medical interventions in nursing homes provide support to extend palliative care services to nursing homes, which may benefit residents who are older, single, or Christians or Catholics.

Keywords: Advance care planning; advance directives; cardiopulmonary resuscitation; nursing homes; palliative care.

MeSH terms

  • Advance Care Planning*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Nursing Homes*
  • Singapore
  • Terminal Care*