Long-Term Care Nurses' Perceptions Of Factors That Influence Their End-Of-Life Discussions With Surrogate Decision Makers
AdvisorReed, Pamela G.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractBackground: Long-term care nurses are in a pivotal position to be augmenting the quality of life for residents and improving the death and dying experience for residents, their family members and surrogate decision makers. Currently there is a paucity of literature that acknowledges the experiences of long-term care nurses and their involvement with end-of-life decision making and care. Purpose: To describe long-term care nurses’ perceptions of factors that influence their communication with end-of-life surrogate decision makers and the kind of support they need to support this discussion. Method: A descriptive study using mixed-methods convergent design was used to obtain responses from a sample of 30 long-term care nurses. An online survey included questions to obtain quantitative data and open-ended questions for short responses. Results from both sets of data were brought together and compared during the analysis phase. Results: The findings of this study highlight the personal factors of the nurse, the characteristics of the surrogate decision maker, contextual factors, situational related inputs, and the support desired by long-term care nurses. Participants rated factors according to importance in their experiences of communicating with surrogate decision makers. Seven themes were inductively derived from the analysis: 1) selected or appointed as surrogate makes a difference, 2) strong trusting bond between nurse-resident and nurse-family, 3) being too close to see resident’s wishes, 4) interdisciplinary team agreement, 5) living will as a communication roadmap, 6) peaceful environment, and 7) the need to create emotional distance. Long-term care nurses also identified the types of support they seek or need to be effective in communicating with end-of-life care surrogate decision makers. Conclusion: As the numbers of the older population continue to increase, the demand for nurses to develop expertise in caring for dying residents and communicating with them, their family members, and surrogate decision makers will increase. Understanding their experiences and providing support to long-term care nurses may strengthen their capacity to communicate about death and dying and their delivery of quality end-of-life care to residents.
Degree ProgramGraduate College