Measuring End-of-Life Care Processes in Nursing Homes
Oxford University Press
Purpose: The objectives of this study were to develop measures of end-of-life (EOL) care processes in nursing homes and to validate the instrument for measuring them. Design and Methods: A survey of directors of nursing was conducted in 608 eligible nursing homes in New York State. Responses were obtained from 313 (51.5% response rate) facilities. Secondary data on structural characteristics of the nursing homes were obtained from the Online Survey Certification and Reporting System. Exploratory factor analyses and internal consistency reliability analyses were performed. Multivariate regression models with fixed and random effects were estimated. Results: Four EOL process domains were identified—assessment, delivery, communication and coordination of care among providers, and communication with residents and families. The scales measuring these EOL process domains demonstrated acceptable to high internal consistency reliability and face, content, and construct validity. Facilities with more EOL quality assurance or monitoring mechanisms in place and greater emphasis on EOL staff education had better scores on EOL care processes of assessment, communication and coordination among providers, and care delivery. Facilities with better registered nurse and certified nurse aide staffing ratios and those with religious affiliation also scored higher on selected care process measures. Implications: This study offers a new validated tool for measuring EOL care processes in nursing homes. Our findings suggest wide variations in care processes across facilities, which in part may stem from lack of gold standards for EOL practice in nursing homes.