Preparing Family Members for the Death of a Loved One in Long-Term Care

Family members of long-term care (LTC) residents at the end of life often feel unprepared for the death of a loved one. Family unpreparedness can lead to increased health costs and an increased risk of poor health outcomes such as complicated or prolonged grief, mood disturbances, sleep disorders, and poor quality of life. The purpose of this article is to discuss what is known about preparedness for death, the assessment of preparedness, and evidence-based interventions to improve preparedness of family caregivers in the LTC setting. Twenty-two articles from 20 studies on preparedness were identified, but the literature is scarce on preparedness specifically in the LTC setting; most of the literature focuses on the white population and on the population with cancer. Key clinical implications include that health care providers should assess family preparedness, tailor teaching to a family’s cognitive and emotional processes, and provide practical support and resources to assist in preparing for death.

– Annals of Long Term care

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