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The influence of care place and diagnosis on care communication at the end of life: bereaved family members’ perspective

, , Joakim Öhlén, Cecilia Larsdotter Ex. Håkanson
Palliative and Supportive Care pp 1-8; doi:10.1017/s147895152100016x

Abstract: Objective To investigate the influence of care place and diagnosis on care communication during the last 3 months of life for people with advanced illness, from the bereaved family members’ perspective. Method A retrospective survey design using the VOICES(SF) questionnaire with a sample of 485 bereaved family members (aged: 20−90 years old, 70% women) of people who died in hospital was employed to meet the study aim. Results Of the deceased people, 79.2% had at some point received care at home, provided by general practitioners (GPs) (52%), district nurses (36.7%), or specialized palliative home care (17.9%), 27.4% were cared for in a nursing home and 15.7% in a specialized palliative care unit. The likelihood of bereaved family members reporting that the deceased person was treated with dignity and respect by the staff was lowest in nursing homes (OR: 0.21) and for GPs (OR: 0.37). A cancer diagnosis (OR: 2.36) or if cared for at home (OR: 2.17) increased the likelihood of bereaved family members reporting that the deceased person had been involved in decision making regarding care and less likely if cared for in a specialized palliative care unit (OR: 0.41). The likelihood of reports of unwanted decisions about the care was higher if cared for in a nursing home (OR: 1.85) or if the deceased person had a higher education (OR: 2.40). Significance of results This study confirms previous research about potential inequalities in care at the end of life. The place of care and diagnosis influenced the bereaved family members’ reports on whether the deceased person was treated with respect and dignity and how involved the deceased person was in decision making regarding care.
Keywords: Communication / Diagnosis / End of life / Family members / Place of care

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