Doing what's best: decisions by families of acutely Ill nursing home residents.
West J Nurs Res. 2009 Aug;31(5):613-26
Authors: Palan Lopez R
When nursing home residents experience acute illness, the preference of family members is a major consideration in the choice between aggressive treatment and palliative care. Grounded theory method was used to explore decision making by family members of acutely ill nursing home residents. Analysis of 12 in-depth interviews with family members resulted in a theory, "doing what's best," that describes the basic psychosocial problem and response of family members. The problem was to make treatment decisions in the face of uncertain circumstances, and the response consisted of five subprocesses: protecting life, creating comfort, relying on religion, honoring wishes, and seeking guidance. Application of this theory to nursing practice can help nurses identify sources of uncertainty and support family members to clarify priorities for life prolongation or comfort, rely on religious or spiritual solace, translate resident wishes into individualized care plans, and provide knowledgeable guidance and support throughout the decision-making process.
PMID: 19321882 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]