Less than 20% of nursing homes have end-of-life care programs

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Fewer than one in five nursing homes provide end-of-life care services, according to new research from the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging.

As many as 25% of all deaths occur in the U.S. occur in a nursing home, according to the report from AAHSA's Institute for the Future of Aging Services. Despite this, less than 20% of nursing homes offer end-of-life programs. Nursing homes were more likely to participate in end-of-life programs if they also offered specialty programs for hospice, pain management or dementia care, according to the report. IFAS researchers analyzed data from the 2004 National Nursing Home Survey, a comprehensive overview of which was made available in June of 2009.

There is also a link between staff training in end-of-life care services and a facility's participation in end-of life-programs, the report showed. Providing appropriate staff training may be the key to expanding program participation, according to Helaine Resnick, director of research at IFAS. The research was published in the online version of the American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Care Medicine.