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

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