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Soc Sci Med. 1991;32(1):83-7.

Need satisfaction in terminal care settings.

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  • 1School of Nursing, Widener University, Chester, PA 19013.


Research comparing hospice and conventional programs of care for the terminally ill has identified few measurable differences in the care provided to patients and their families. Nonetheless, hospice recipients frequently express a higher level of satisfaction with their program of care. This study compared the ability of hospice and conventional care settings to meet the basic emotional needs of families during a member's dying and death from cancer. In addition, the relationship of basic needs satisfaction, perceptions about the nurse, and overall satisfaction with the program of care were explored. One hundred bereaved familial care givers completed a mail questionnaire concerning their perceptions of care at the site of a family member's death. The sites were (1) the home, with care provided by a Medicare certified, community-based hospice program: (2) a hospital affiliated with a Medicare certified, community-based hospice program; (3) a hospital with its own hospice program; and (4) a conventional (non-hospice) hospital. Analyses of quantitative data supported two hypotheses about significant differences between hospice and conventional care. The conventional care group demonstrated the lowest levels of basic needs satisfaction, satisfaction with the psycho-social support of the nurse, and overall program satisfaction. As predicted, overall satisfaction with care was consistent across hospice groups. However, home hospice care provided the highest quality of basic needs satisfaction and the highest level of satisfaction with the nurse. Significant Pearson correlations supported the hypothesis that overall satisfaction is negatively related to unmet basic needs (r = -0.69) and positively related to the psycho-social support received from nurses (r = 0.73).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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