Saturday, February 6, 2010

End-of-Life Concerns

OMEGA--Journal of Death and Dying
  Issue:  Volume 60, Number 3 / 2009-2010
  Pages:  273 - 297
   
End-of-Life Concerns and Care Preferences: Congruence among Terminally Ill Elders and Their Family Caregivers
Abstract:
This study examined the end-of-life challenges, concerns, and care preferences of terminally ill elders and their family caregivers, with a focus on areas of congruence and incongruence. Ten elders and 10 family caregivers participated in separate, semi-structured, face-to-face interviews. Data analysis included team coding and thematic analysis, guided by an a priori set of categories based on the study questions. Shared challenges and concerns included experiencing decline, managing pain and discomfort, and living with uncertainty. There was also congruence regarding end-of-life care preferences, specifically the importance of quality care, treatment with dignity and respect, and avoiding unnecessary life-sustaining treatment. Areas of incongruence included the elders' difficulties in accepting dependence, their fears of becoming a burden, and desire to be prepared for death. Family caregivers were most concerned with providing adequate care to meet the elders' physical and spiritual care needs. Open family communication was associated with greater congruence. The authors discuss implications of these findings for research and intervention.

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