Friday, March 9, 2012
Assisted Living Facilities Provide Hospice Care (Research, Video 3:48)
Many people have told me that they didn’t know hospice care exists in nursing homes. Even more seem surprised to learn that hospice care can be provided for residents in assisted living facilities. I can’t emphasize enough that hospice care is available no matter where a qualified person lives at home, in an assisted living facility, in a hospital, and even in prison.
What does good quality care at the end of life look life for hospice-enrolled residents in assisted living facilities? A study was done by the Oregon Health & Science University to get detailed descriptions of end-of-life care provided by medication aides, caregivers, nurses, and hospice nurses in urban and rural settings. Interviews were used to gather information. Having worked as a hospice volunteer in urban nursing homes for several years, I was interested in the results. They were very similar to what I would have expected from a nursing home or any other institutional care:
1) The quality and nature of resident-staff and assisted living-hospice staff relationships are critical in promoting good end-of-life care for residents.
2) Length of the resident's stay in the facility and how well staff knew the resident were associated with the quality of the resident-staff relationship.
3) Respectful collaboration, clear communication, use of complementary knowledge and skills of staff, and shared expectations about the care were associated with positive staff relationships.
4) Administrative support for hospice patients in assisted living facilities was important.
Assisted living facilities and hospice organizations that are committed to working together with hospice programs must both support staff, patients, and families. There is a need for more successful models of this partnering system of care to meet the needs of our growing population of older adults.
This video titled Hospice: At Home, In Assisted Living, In Hospitals relates the positive experiences of patients receiving hospice care in different settings:
Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback at many booksellers and in e-book form at Amazon and Barnes and Noble booksellers.