Saturday, May 29, 2010
Predicting Death of the Terminally Ill: End-of-Life Care (Research and Video 2:55 mins.)
What do people consider when they set out to predict death? A research study that included 45 residents was set up to create a framework for organizing social interactions related to end-of-life care and to characterize the social construction of dying in two nursing homes. The resulting framework included five categories related to the possibility of death:
1) Dying allowed
2) Dying contested
3) Mixed message dying
4) Not dying
5) Not enough information
Based on predictions, over half the resident cases were classified as mixed message dying or not enough information. This indicates the ambiguity regarding residents’ care plan goals found in the two nursing homes in the study. These results imply the importance of residents, family, staff, and physicians working together to determine the dying status of residents as it relates to social interactions and healthcare the resident receives. Shared conversations about goals of care, and how these goals will be reached are important in determining the quality of care residents receive. You can read more about this research study from the “Gerontologist.”
While on the subject of predicting death, many of you probably remember reading in the news two years ago about a cat named Oscar that predicted deaths of nursing home residents. Oscar has even received a hospice award. In this video titled “Cat Is Harbinger Of Death (CBS News),” Oscar’s death predictions are discussed.
Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers.