End-of-Life Care: Satisfaction vs. Dissatisfaction

1. Introduction
a. What is end-of-life care?

End-of-life care (EOLC) refers to the comprehensive care of terminally ill patients at the end of their lives. It includes palliative and hospice care, as well as medical and nursing interventions designed to provide comfort and support to both the patient and their loved ones (1).

b. Importance of end-of-life care
EOLC is important because it not only improves the quality of life for patients, but also their caregivers and families. Good EOLC can help patients die with dignity, while also providing support for those who are grieving (2). In addition, EOLC can help reduce the financial burden on families by providing comprehensive care in one setting, rather than fragmented care in multiple settings (3).

2. Factors contributing to satisfaction with end-of-life care
a. Nursing staff

One of the most important factors contributing to satisfaction with EOLC is the nursing staff. Family members who felt that the nursing staff were caring, competent, and responsive to their loved one’s needs were more likely to be satisfied with the overall EOLC experience (4). In addition, family members who felt that the nursing staff respected their loved one’s wishes and communicated openly with them were also more likely to be satisfied (5).

b. Quality of life
Another factor that contributes to satisfaction with EOLC is the quality of life that patients are able to experience during their final days. Patients who are able to maintain some semblance of control over their lives and are able to enjoy activities that bring them pleasure are more likely to be satisfied with their EOLC than those who are not (6). In addition, patients who feel that their caregivers understand and respect their wishes for how they want to spend their final days are also more likely to be satisfied (7).

3. Factors contributing to dissatisfaction with end-of-life care

a. Communication
One of the most common complaints from family members about EOLC is poor communication from the nursing staff. Families often feel that they are not kept informed about their loved one’s condition or treatment plan, which can leave them feeling frustrated and helpless (8). In addition, families often feel that they are not given enough time to say goodbye or that they are not given enough opportunity to participate in decision-making about their loved one’s care (9).

b. Probing questions
Another common complaint from family members about EOLC is that they are subjected to intrusive and personal questions from the nursing staff. Family members often feel that they are being interrogated about their relationship with the patient or about personal details of the patient’s life, which can be very painful during an already difficult time (10). In addition, family members often feel that they are being asked these questions in a judgmental or disrespectful way, which can further compound the feeling of being overwhelmed and unsupported (11).

4. Conclusion

EOLC is an important aspect of care for both patients and their families. Although there are some factors that can contribute to dissatisfaction with EOLC, such as poor communication or intrusive questioning, there are also many factors that can contribute to satisfaction, such as a caring and competent nursing staff or a respectful and open communication style. Ultimately, the goal of EOLC should be to provide the best possible quality of life for both patients and their families, while also respecting their wishes and needs.

FAQ

Some common end-of-life care decisions that families face include deciding whether or not to prolong life through medical interventions, choosing a hospice facility, and making funeral arrangements.

Families can communicate with each other about their wishes for end-of-life care by having open and honest conversations about what everyone wants and needs. It is important to have these conversations before a crisis arises so that everyone is on the same page.

Some of the challenges involved in providing end-of-life care to a dying loved one include dealing with grief and sadness, managing pain and other symptoms, and making sure that all of the logistics are taken care of.

Families can make sure that their loved ones receive the best possible care during the final stages of life by doing research ahead of time, staying involved in the decision-making process, and advocating for their loved ones' needs.

There are many resources available to help families cope with the death of a loved one, including support groups, counseling services, and online resources.