Long-term care (LTC) nurses are a critical nexus for patient communication and vital to advance care planning due to their professional role and breadth of patient relationships. The current study's aim was to explore the communication strategies Midwestern LTC nurses use to clarify patients' end-of-life (EOL) care preferences. Two focus groups used a phenomenological framework to elucidate the experiences of 14 RNs. Data analysis revealed two themes grounded in time: (a) nurses use time to assess patients' EOL situation and assist patients to discern care options; and (b) nurses educate patients about EOL care, adjust care plans, and develop trusting relationships. Two themes were grounded in clinical experience: (a) nurses become persistent advocates and educators to initiate and sustain EOL communication; and (b) nurses learn consistency in communication, including awareness of patients' nonverbal communication. Nurses shared that EOL communication is never "done"; time frames to assess, educate, and clarify are continuous.
OBJECTIVES: The aim was to review evidence from all randomized controlled trials (RCTs) using palliative care education or staff training as an intervention to improve nursing home residents' quality of life (QOL) or quality of dying (QOD) or to reduce burdensome hospitalizations.
DESIGN: A systematic review with a narrative summary.
SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: Residents in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
METHODS: We searched MEDLINE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, the Cochrane Library, Scopus, and Google Scholar, references of known articles, previous reviews, and recent volumes of key journals. RCTs were included in the review. Methodologic quality was assessed.
RESULTS: The search yielded 932 articles after removing the duplicates. Of them, 16 cluster RCTs fulfilled inclusion criteria for analysis. There was a great variety in the interventions with respect to learning methods, intensity, complexity, and length of staff training. Most interventions featured other elements besides staff training. In the 6 high-quality trials, only 1 showed a reduction in hospitalizations, whereas among 6 moderate-quality trials 2 suggested a reduction in hospitalizations. None of the high-quality trials showed effects on residents' QOL or QOD. Staff reported an improved QOD in 1 moderate-quality trial.
CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: Irrespective of the means of staff training, there were surprisingly few effects of education on residents' QOL, QOD, or burdensome hospitalizations. Further studies are needed to explore the reasons behind these findings.
Although long-term care (LTC) home staff of nurses and personal support workers spend the most time providing direct care, their role in end of life decision-making for residents with dementia has largely been unacknowledged. Staff's perceptions of their role play a significant part in how they support people with dementia and family care partners. The purpose of this study was to examine LTC home staff's perspectives of their role in end of life decision-making for LTC home residents with dementia. For this interpretive descriptive study, 21 semi-structured interviews were conducted in two urban LTC homes with nine personal support worker (PSWs), eight registered practical nurses (RPNs), and four registered nurses (RNs). Additionally, a focus group was conducted, consisting of each a PSW, RPN, and RN. A voice-centred relational analysis was used to situate LTC home staff's perspectives within broader social contexts. Findings suggest that little has changed in LTC homes in the last 50 years. Rooted in dichotomies between medical and social care paradigms, ideologies of rationality and professionalism created tensions, hierarchical roles, and staff's minimal involvement in decision-making. A relational approach is needed to account for the interdependency of care and the relationships that LTC home staff have with residents, family care partners, and the sociopolitical environment.
The number of residents in long-term care facilities (LTCFs) in need of palliative care is growing in the Western world. Therefore, it is foreseen that significantly higher percentages of budgets will be spent on palliative care. However, cost-effectiveness analyses of palliative care interventions in these settings are lacking. Therefore, the objective of this paper was to assess the cost-effectiveness of the ‘PACE Steps to Success’ intervention. PACE (Palliative Care for Older People) is a 1-year palliative care programme aiming at integrating general palliative care into day-to-day routines in LTCFs, throughout seven EU countries.
BACKGROUND: Given the increase in the number of deaths within long-term care facilities (LTCFs), the need for palliative and end-of-life (EOL) care education among such facilities has been increasing. As such, a systematic synthesis of global palliative and EOL care educational approaches and evaluation can aid further educational development.
OBJECTIVE: To synthesise the current literature on palliative and EOL care educational interventions for staff working in LTCFs and identify barriers to, and facilitators of, intervention implementation.
METHODS: The study used an integrative review framework wherein indexed databases, namely, CINAHL, EMBASE, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, Web of Science, Cochrane Library and Japan Medical Abstract Society, were systematically searched for studies published in English and Japanese between 2007 and 2019. Search terms that are related to palliative care, LTCF, and education were combined to increase search sensitivity. The quality of the papers was assessed using Joanna Briggs Institute Critical Appraisal Tools and the Mixed-Methods Appraisal Tool.
RESULTS: A total of 52 studies were included in the review. Our results suggested that although studies in this area and setting have been evolving, suboptimal developmental research and educational practices, global variability and unstandardised approaches to education and lacking viewpoints from service users have remained. Barriers to intervention implementation were also reported due to the specific characteristics of LTCFs, which include high staff turnover and considerable variation in professional skills and experience.
CONCLUSIONS: Given the different LTCF types, systems and policies across each country or region, further research on standardised educational interventions with contextual considerations using large-scale studies with robust methodology is needed to meet the increasing demand for palliative and EOL care among the global ageing population.
IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: Palliative and EOL care educational intervention for LTCF staff need to include more consideration of context, organisational culture and the user involvement throughout the process of education and research to enhance the quality of care in this complex setting.
BACKGROUND: Many older people wish to die at home. However, there is still a huge gap between the place where older adults wish to die and the place where they, in fact, do die. We aimed to assess the association between each type of long-term care (LTC) services that home-dwelling older individuals utilized at their end of life and place of death.
METHODS: A pooled cross-sectional study at the point of death was used for the analysis. Participants included beneficiaries of long-term care insurance in Japan, aged 65 years and above, who passed away between January 2008 and December 2013, excluding those who died due to external factors and those who were using residential services at their time of death. We conducted a multivariate Poisson regression analysis with robust standard errors adjusting for potential confounders and examined the association between the use of each type of LTC service for home-dwelling recipients, including in-home services, day services, and short-stay services, with the interaction terms being time of death (exposure) and home death (outcome). We calculated the adjusted probability of home deaths for each combination pattern of LTC services for home-dwelling recipients using standard marginalization.
RESULTS: We analyzed 2,035,657 beneficiaries. The use of in-home services, day services, and short-stay services were associated with an increased probability of home deaths; the incident rate ratio (IRR) was 13.40 (with a 95% confidence interval (CI): 13.23-13.57) for in-home services, the IRR was 6.32 (6.19-6.45) for day services, and the IRR was 1.25 (1.16-1.34) for short-stay services. Those who used day or short-stay services with in-home services exhibited a higher probability of home deaths than those who used only day or short-stay services.
CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrated that home-dwelling older persons who used LTC services near end-of-life had a higher probability of home deaths as compared to those who did not. Our findings can clarify the importance of providing and integrating such services to support care recipients who wish to die at home as well as for the benefit of their informal caregivers.
In the UK and the Westernised countries, most people die aged 80+ from disabling, chronic and degenerative diseases, having spent several years in poor health. There is thus continuity between long-term care (LTC) and end of life care (EOLC) in old age, but this continuity is poorly understood within policy and almost nothing is known about what determines the modality and intensity of LTC provision in old age towards the end of life. Drawing on multinomial logistic regression analysis of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA), this paper evaluates how health and socio-demographic factors affect the relative probability of receiving care through one of five long-term care arrangements (LTCAs) from the time of need at age =50 to death; and assesses the consequences this has for the English LTC and EOLC policy and planning. The study reveals that hospices provide end-of-life LTC for cancer diagnoses and adults aged 50-64, while care homes provide open-ended and end-of-life LTC for non-cancer diagnoses, dementia, severe disability, and adults aged 80+. Further, the informal, formal, mixed and care home LTCAs reflect increasing levels of disability and ill-health, and decreasing levels of family support, with differences concerning education and gender. Finally, dementia and Parkinson's disease are the single strongest determinants of high formal LTC provision, and overall high care needs determine high formal LTC provision. Within the English context, the consequences of this are that: 1) Continued reliance on informal family care is not sustainable; 2) To provide free formal LTC to old adults with high care needs is appropriate; and 3) Hospices do not cater for the prevalent form of dying in old age while care homes do, being the de facto hospices for severely disabled, very old (80+) adults with dementia. Yet this is not represented in English EOLC policy and research.
BACKGROUND: Despite increased annual mortality in long-term care (LTC) homes, research has shown that care of dying residents and their families is currently suboptimal in these settings. The purpose of this study was to evaluate resident and family outcomes associated with the Strengthening a Palliative Approach in LTC (SPA-LTC) program, developed to help encourage meaningful end of life discussions and planning.
METHODS: The study employs a mixed method design in four LTC homes across Southern Ontario. Data were collected from residents and families of the LTC homes through chart reviews, interviews, and focus groups. Interviews with family who attended a Palliative Care Conference included both closed-ended and open-ended questions.
RESULTS: In total, 39 residents/families agreed to participate in the study. Positive intervention outcomes included a reduction in the proportion of emergency department use at end of life and hospital deaths for those participating in SPA-LTC, improved support for families, and increased family involvement in the care of residents. For families who attended a Palliative Care Conference, both quantitative and qualitative findings revealed that families benefited from attending them. Residents stated that they appreciated learning about a palliative approach to care and being informed about their current status.
CONCLUSIONS: The benefits of SPA-LTC for residents and families justify its continued use within LTC. Study results also suggest that certain enhancements of the program could further promote future integration of best practices within a palliative approach to care within the LTC context. However, the generalizability of these results across LTC homes in different regions and countries is limited given the small sample size.
OBJECTIVES: Adult day service centers (ADSCs) may serve as an entrée to advance care planning. This study examined state requirements for ADSCs to provide advance directives (AD) information to ADSC participants, ADSCs' awareness of requirements, ADSCs' practice of providing AD information, and their associations with the percentage of participants with ADs.
METHODS: Using the 2016 National Study of Long-Term Care Providers, analyses included 3,305 ADSCs that documented ADs in participants' files. Bivariate and linear regression analyses were conducted.
RESULTS: Nine states had a requirement to provide AD information. 80.8% of ADSCs provided AD information. 41.3% of participants had documented ADs. There were significant associations between state requirement, awareness, and providing information with AD prevalence. State requirement was mediated by awareness.
DISCUSSION: This study found many ADSCs provided AD information, and ADSCs that thought their state had a requirement and provided information was associated with AD prevalence, regardless of state requirements.
Background: The impact of prior advance care planning (ACP) documentation on substitute decision-makers' (SDMs) knowledge of values for end-of-life (EOL) care, and its correlation with SDM satisfaction with EOL care provision, have not been assessed in long-term care (LTC).
Methods: A cross-sectional survey of 2,595 SDMs from 27 LTC homes assessed: 1) knowledge of pre-existing ACP documentation and values for EOL care, and 2) the importance and satisfaction of EOL care provision in LTC. Knowledge of values for EOL care was compared to administrative documentation. Importance and satisfaction were plotted on a performance-importance grid. Multiple linear regression assessed whether knowledge of pre-existing ACP documentation correlated with satisfaction.
Results: The response rate was 25% (658/2,595); 69% of LTC residents had pre-existing ACP documentation. Discordance was noted between SDMs' knowledge of values for EOL care and administrative documentation. Pre-existing knowledge of ACP documentation was not correlated with EOL care provision satisfaction. Priority areas for increasing satisfaction include illness management, SDM communication, and relationships with LTC clinicians.
Conclusions: The discordance between SDMs' knowledge of values for EOL care and formal documentation needs to be addressed. Although pre-existing ACP documentation does not impact satisfaction, EOL care provision could be improved by targeting illness management, SDM communication, and relationships with LTC clinicians.
OBJECTIVE: Quality end-of-life (EOL) care is critical for dying residents and their family/friend caregivers. While best practices to support resident comfort at EOL in long-term care (LTC) homes are emerging, research rarely explores if and how the type of care received at EOL may contribute to caregivers' perceptions of a good death. To address this gap, this study explored how care practices at EOL contributed to caregivers' perceptions of a good resident death.
METHOD: This study used a retrospective cross-sectional survey design. Seventy-eight participants whose relative or friend died in one of five LTC homes in Canada completed self-administered questionnaires on their perceptions of EOL care and perceptions of a good resident death.
RESULTS: Overall, caregivers reported positive experiences with EOL care and perceived residents to have died a good death. However, communication regarding what to expect in the final days of life and attention to spiritual issues were often missing components of care. Further, when explored alongside direct resident care, family support, and rooming conditions, staff communication was the only aspect of EOL care significantly associated with caregivers' perceptions of a good resident death.
SIGNIFICANCE OF RESULTS: The findings of this study suggest that the critical role staff in LTC play in supporting caregivers' perceptions of a good resident death. By keeping caregivers informed about expectations at the very end of life, staff can enhance caregivers' perceptions of a good resident death. Further, by addressing spiritual issues staff may improve caregivers' perceptions that residents were at peace when they died.
Background/objectives: Opioids relieve symptoms in terminal care. We studied opioid underuse in long-term care facilities, defined as residents without opioid prescription despite pain and/or dyspnoea, 3 days prior to death.
Design and setting: In a proportionally stratified randomly selected sample of long-term care facilities in six European Union countries, nurses and long-term care facility management completed structured after-death questionnaires within 3 months of residents’ death.
Measurements: Nurses assessed pain/dyspnoea with Comfort Assessment in Dying with Dementia scale and checked opioid prescription by chart review. We estimated opioid underuse per country and per symptom and calculated associations of opioid underuse by multilevel, multivariable analysis.
Results: nurses’ response rate was 81.6%, 95.7% for managers. Of 901 deceased residents with pain/dyspnoea reported in the last week, 10.6% had dyspnoea, 34.4% had pain and 55.0% had both symptoms. Opioid underuse per country was 19.2% (95% confidence interval: 12.9–27.2) in the Netherlands, 25.2% (18.3–33.6) in Belgium, 29.3% (16.9–45.8) in England, 33.7% (26.2–42.2) in Finland, 64.6% (52.0–75.4) in Italy and 79.1% (71.2–85.3) in Poland (p < 0.001). Opioid underuse was 57.2% (33.0–78.4) for dyspnoea, 41.2% (95% confidence interval: 21.9–63.8) for pain and 37.4% (19.4–59.6) for both symptoms (p = 0.013). Odds of opioid underuse were lower (odds ratio: 0.33; 95% confidence interval: 0.20–0.54) when pain was assessed.
Conclusion: Opioid underuse differs between countries. Pain and dyspnoea should be formally assessed at the end-of-life and taken into account in physicians orders.
CONTEXT: Symptom management is essential in the end of life care of long-term care facility residents.
OBJECTIVES: To study discrepancies and possible associated factors in staff and family carers' symptom assessment scores for residents in the last week of life.
METHODS: A post mortem survey in Belgium, the Netherlands and Finland: staff and family carers completed the "End-Of-Life in Dementia - Comfort Assessment in Dying" scale (EOLD-CAD), rating 14 symptoms on a 1 to 3-point scale. Higher scores reflect better comfort. We calculated mean paired differences in symptom, subscale and total scores at a group level and interrater agreement and percentage of perfect agreement at a resident level.
RESULTS: Mean staff scores significantly reflected better comfort than those of family carers for the total End-of-Life in Dementia—Comfort Assessment in Dying (31.61 vs. 29.81; P < 0.001) and the physical distress (8.64 vs. 7.62; P < 0.001) and dying symptoms (8.95 vs. 8.25; P < 0.001) subscales. No significant differences were found for emotional distress and well-being. The largest discrepancies were found for gurgling, discomfort, restlessness, and choking for which staff answered not at all, whereas the family carer answered a lot, in respectively, 9.5%, 7.3%, 6.7%, and 6.1% of cases. Inter-rater agreement ranged from 0.106 to 0.204, the extent of perfect agreement from 40.8 for lack of serenity to 68.7% for crying.
CONCLUSION: There is a need for improved communication between staff and family and discussion about symptom burden in the dying phase in long-term care facilities.
OBJECTIVE: To examine the regional variation in hospital care utilization in the last 6 months of life of Dutch patients with lung cancer and to test whether higher degrees of hospital utilization coincide with less general practitioner (GP) and long-term care use.
DESIGN: Cross-sectional claims data study.
SETTING: The Netherlands.
PARTICIPANTS: Patients deceased in 2013-2015 with lung cancer (N = 25 553).
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: We calculated regional medical practice variation scores, adjusted for age, gender and socioeconomic status, for radiotherapy, chemotherapy, CT-scans, emergency room contacts and hospital admission days during the last 6 months of life; Spearman Rank correlation coefficients measured the association between the adjusted regional medical practice variation scores for hospital admissions and ER contacts and GP and long-term care utilization.
RESULTS: The utilization of hospital services in high-using regions is 2.3-3.6 times higher than in low-using regions. The variation was highest in 2015 and lowest in 2013. For all 3 years, hospital care was not significantly correlated with out-of-hospital care at a regional level.
CONCLUSIONS: Hospital care utilization during the last 6 months of life of patients with lung cancer shows regional medical practice variation over the course of multiple years and seems to increase. Higher healthcare utilization in hospitals does not seem to be associated with less intensive GP and long-term care. In-depth research is needed to explore the causes of the variation and its relation to quality of care provided at the level of daily practice.
OBJECTIVES: The number of older people dying in long-term care facilities (LTCFs) is increasing globally, but care quality may be variable. A framework was developed drawing on empirical research findings from the Palliative Care for Older People (PACE) study and a scoping review of literature on the implementation of palliative care interventions in LTCFs. The PACE study mapped palliative care in LTCFs in Europe, evaluated quality of end-of-life care and quality of dying in a cross-sectional study of deceased residents of LTCFs in 6 countries, and undertook a cluster-randomized control trial that evaluated the impact of the PACE Steps to Success intervention in 7 countries. Working with the European Association for Palliative Care, a white paper was written that outlined recommendations for the implementation of interventions to improve palliative and end-of-life care for all older adults with serious illness, regardless of diagnosis, living in LTCFs. The goal of the article is to present these key domains and recommendations.
DESIGN: Transparent expert consultation.
SETTING: International experts in LTCFs.
PARTICIPANTS: Eighteen (of 20 invited) international experts from 15 countries participated in a 1-day face-to-face Transparent Expert Consultation (TEC) workshop in Bern, Switzerland, and 21 (of 28 invited) completed a follow-up online survey.
METHODS: The TEC study used (1) a face-to-face workshop to discuss a scoping review and initial recommendations and (2) an online survey.
RESULTS: Thirty recommendations about implementing palliative care for older people in LTCFs were refined during the TEC workshop and, of these, 20 were selected following the survey. These 20 recommendations cover domains at micro (within organizations), meso (across organizations), and macro (at national or regional) levels addressed in 3 phases: establishing conditions for action, embedding in everyday practice, and sustaining ongoing change.
CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: We developed a framework of 20 recommendations to guide implementation of improvements in palliative care in LTCFs.
BACKGROUND: Frailty and palliative performance scores are 2 markers used in the measurement of functional decline in oncology and hospice care.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the frailty and palliative performance scores of a long-term care resident community and determine whether frailty and palliative performance scores can predict hospital readmissions (HR) and survivability of the long-term care resident.
METHODS: One hundred seventy-one long-term care residents from 2 urban facilities were evaluated for functional decline using the Clinical Frailty Scale (CFS) and Palliative Performance Scale (PPS). Sociodemographic, HR, and survival data for 1 year from study initiation were recorded.
RESULTS: The 171 long-term care residents, of lower socioeconomic status, primarily Medicare/Medicaid or dual-eligible, evaluated for functional decline using the CFS and PPS, had mean age of 73.1 years, 52.6% female, 94.7% African American, with 18.1% having HR and 87.1% surviving more than a year. There was a negative association between age and HR (P = .384). Among functional evaluation scales, CFS was positively associated with age (P = .013) but not PPS (P = .673). The residents scored 6.0 ± 1.2 on CFS and 52.8 ± 13.2 on PPS (%) with those residents readmitted to hospital having poorer outcomes. Readmission to hospital and survivability of the long-term care resident were both strongly associated with CFS (P = .001) and PPS (P = .001).
CONCLUSION: There is a strong association between the 2 markers used in the measurement of functional decline-Frailty measured by CFS and Palliative Performance Score measured by PPS. Frailty and palliative performance scores can strongly predict HR and survivability of the long-term care resident.
Background: Hospice care can improve quality of life for persons nearing end of life, yet little is known about utilization of hospice care among persons residing in long-term care facilities (LTCFs). Given the increasing number of deaths that occur in LTCFs, it is important to examine hospice care practices in LTCFs.
Aim: The aim of the cross-sectional study was to describe residents who received hospice care in LTCFs and explore factors that can predict hospice use in LTCFs across Canada. This study included 185 715 residents aged 19 years or older in LTCFs in Canada in 2015.
Results: Of all residents, 2.7% (n = 4973) received hospice care and 6.8% (n = 12 684) were profiled as having an end-stage disease. Among those who received hospice care, most were noted as end stage (89.5%) and had severe physical impairment (Activities of Daily Living Hierarchy Scale = 5, 74.3%), mild-to-severe pain (Pain Scale = 1, 76.0%), and moderate-to-severe health instability (Changes in Health, End-Stage Disease, Signs, and Symptoms Scale =3, 82.9%). Residents who received hospice care were in more severe and complex clinical conditions than those who did not receive hospice care.
Conclusion: Only a small proportion of residents in LTCFs received hospice care. Further investigation of standardized assessment of terminal status is needed as accuracy of end-stage diagnosis continues to be challenging and criteria for hospice eligibility are narrow. Special attention should be paid to improve access to hospice care among residents with dementia or other progressive chronic diseases with severe and complex clinical needs.
Background: Residents living and dying in long-term care (LTC) homes represent one of society's most frail and marginalized populations of older adults, particularly those residents with advanced dementia who are often excluded from activities that promote quality of life in their last months of life. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the feasibility, acceptability, and effects of Namaste Care: an innovative program to improve end-of-life care for people with advanced dementia.
Methods: This study used a mixed-method survey design to evaluate the Namaste Care program in two LTC homes in Canada. Pain, quality of life, and medication costs were assessed for 31 residents before and 6 months after they participated in Namaste Care. The program consisted of two 2-h sessions per day for 5 days per week. Namaste Care staff provided high sensory care to residents in a calm, therapeutic environment in a small group setting. Feasibility was assessed in terms of recruitment rate, number of sessions attended, retention rate, and any adverse events. Acceptability was assessed using qualitative interviews with staff and family.
Results: The feasibility of Namaste Care was acceptable with a participation rate of 89%. However, participants received only 72% of the sessions delivered and only 78% stayed in the program for at least 3 months due to mortality. After attending Namaste Care, participants' pain and quality of life improved and medication costs decreased. Family members and staff perceived the program to be beneficial, noting positive changes in residents. The majority of participants were very satisfied with the program, providing suggestions for ongoing engagement throughout the implementation process.
Conclusions: These study findings support the implementation of the Namaste Care program in Canadian LTC homes to improve the quality of life for residents. However, further testing is needed on a larger scale.
OBJECTIVE: Palliative care plays an essential role in enhancing the quality of life and quality of death for residents in long-term care homes (LTCHs). Access to palliative care specialists is one barrier to providing palliative care to LTCHs. This project focused on palliative telemedicine, specifically evaluating whether integration of early palliative care specialist consultation into an LTCH would be feasible through the implementation of videoconferencing during routine interdisciplinary care conferences.
METHOD: This was a mixed-methods evaluation of a pilot program implementation over 6 months, to integrate early palliative care into an LTCH. There were two pilot communities with a total of 61 residents. Resident demographics were collected by a chart review, and palliative telemedicine feasibility was evaluated using staff and family member surveys.
RESULTS: For the 61 residents, the average age of the residents was 87 years, with 61% being female and 69% having dementia as the primary diagnosis. The mean CHESS (Change in Health, End-Stage Disease, Signs, and Symptoms) and ADL (Activities of Daily Living) scores were 0.8 and 4.0, respectively, with 54% having a Palliative Performance Scale score of 40. Seventeen clinical staff surveys on palliative teleconferences were completed with the majority rating their experience as high. Ten out of the 20 family members completed the palliative teleconference surveys, and the majority were generally satisfied with the experience and were willing to use it again. Clinical staff confidence in delivering palliative care through telemedicine significantly increased (P = 0.0021).
SIGNIFICANCE OF RESULTS: The results support the feasibility of videoconferencing as a means of palliative care provision. Despite technical issues, most clinical staff and families were satisfied with the videoconference and were willing to use it again. Early integration of palliative care specialist services into an LTCH through videoconferencing also led to improved self-rated confidence in the palliative approach to care by clinical staff.
OBJECTIVES: To map out the total use of long-term care (LTC; ie, home care or institutional care) during the last 2 years of life and to investigate to what extent gender differences in LTC use were explained by cohabitation status and age at death.
DESIGN: The National Cause of Death Register was used to identify decedents. Use of LTC was based on the Social Services Register (SSR) and sociodemographic factors were provided by Statistics Sweden.
SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: All persons living in Sweden who died in November 2015 aged =67 years (n = 5948).
METHODS: Zero inflated negative binomial regression was used to estimate the relative impact of age, gender, and cohabitation status on the use of LTC.
RESULTS: Women used LTC to a larger extent [odds ratio (OR) 2.17, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.92-2.50] and for a longer period [risk ratio (RR) 1.14, 95% CI 1.11-1.18] than men. When controlling for age at death and cohabitation status, gender differences in LTC attenuated (OR 1.47, 95% CI 1.28-1.72) and vanished in regard to the duration. In the controlled model, women used LTC for 15.6 months (95% CI 15.2-16.0) and men for 14.1 months (95% CI 13.7-14.5) out of 24 months. The length of stay in institutional care was 7.2 (95% CI 6.8-7.5) and 6.2 months (95% CI 5.8-6.6), respectively.
CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: A substantial part of women's greater use of LTC was due to their higher age at death and because they more often lived alone. Given that survival continues to increase, the association between older age at death and LTC use suggests that policy makers will have to deal with an increased pressure on the LTC sector. Yet, increased survival among men could imply that more women will have access to spousal caregivers, although very old couples may have limited capacity for extensive caregiving at the end of life.