OBJECTIVES: Working conditions in nursing homes (NHs) may hamper teamwork in providing quality end-of-life (EOL) care, especially the participation of NH physicians. Dutch NH physicians are specialists or trainees in elderly care medicine with NHs as the main workplace, whereas in Norway, family physicians usually work part time in NHs. Thus, we aimed at assessing and comparing NH physicians' perspectives on barriers and strategies for providing EOL care in NHs in Norway and in The Netherlands.
DESIGN: A cross-sectional study using an electronic questionnaire was conducted in 2015.
SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: All NH physicians in Norway (approximately 1200-1300) were invited to participate; 435 participated (response rate approximately 35%). Of the total 1664 members of the Dutch association of elderly care physicians approached, 244 participated (response rate 15%).
MEASUREMENTS: We explored NH physicians' perceptions of organizational, educational, financial, legal, and personal prerequisites for quality EOL care. Differences between the countries were compared using χ(2) test and t-test.
RESULTS: Most respondents in both countries reported inadequate staffing, lack of skills among nursing personnel, and heavy time commitment for physicians as important barriers; this was more pronounced among Dutch respondents. Approximately 30% of the respondents in both countries reported their own lack of interest in EOL care as an important barrier. Suggested improvement strategies were routines for involvement of patients' family, pain- and symptom assessment protocols, EOL care guidelines, routines for advance care planning, and education in EOL care for physicians and nursing staff.
CONCLUSIONS: Inadequate staffing levels, as well as lack of competence, time, and interest emerge as important barriers to quality EOL care according to Dutch and Norwegian NH physicians. Their perspectives were mostly similar, despite large educational and organizational differences. Key strategies for improving EOL care in their facilities comprise education and incorporating available palliative care tools and systems.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Journal of the American Medical Directors Association|
|Publication status||Published - 1-Aug-2017|
- nursing home physician
- Nursing home
- end-of-life care
- The Netherlands