Most long-term care workers think relatives of dying residents 'interfere,' survey shows

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Provider networks up for debate among Catholic bishops
Provider networks up for debate among Catholic bishops

Relatives of dying residents make end-of-life care worse, according to a majority of long-term care professionals.

This finding, to be published in JAMDA, was described as “surprising and unexpected.” Researchers based at universities in Canada and France received more than 600 responses to a survey distributed to workers in five long-term care facilities in Quebec. The questionnaire covered topics related to end-of-life and palliative care.

Employees in long-term care showed shared agreement with the statement “family members tend to interfere in the care of residents at the end of life,” the researchers wrote. About 50% of respondents said they “somewhat agree” with that statement, and 22% said they “strongly agree.”

Residents' relatives sometimes exhibit “problematic behaviors” and create “dysfunctional situations” that become increasingly troubling as dying residents develop multiple and complex issues, according to follow-up interviews the researchers did with managers and specialized clinical care advisors.

Cultural differences between the caregivers' approach to end-of-life care and families' expectations also could help explain the result, the researchers noted.

JAMDA is the journal of AMDA-Dedicated to Long-Term Care, formerly known as the American Medical Directors Association. The findings of this study will appear in the March issue