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J Palliat Med. 2010 Aug;13(8):991-6. doi: 10.1089/jpm.2010.0044.

Families' perceptions of end-of-life care in Veterans Affairs versus non-Veterans Affairs facilities.

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1
Division of Geriatrics, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The Veterans Affairs (VA) has made significant investments in care for veterans. However, it is not known whether these investments have produced improvements in end-of-life care in the VA compared to other settings. Therefore, the goal of this study was to compare families' perceptions of end-of-life care among patients who died in VA and non-VA facilities.

DESIGN:

Retrospective 32-item telephone surveys were conducted with family members of patients who died in VA and non-VA facilities.

SETTING:

Five Veterans Affairs medical centers and their affiliated nursing homes and outpatient clinics.

PARTICIPANTS:

Patients were eligible if they received any care from a participating VA facility in the last month of life and if they died in an inpatient setting. One family member per patient completed the survey.

RESULTS:

In bivariate analysis, patients who died in VA facilities (n = 520) had higher mean satisfaction scores compared to those who died in non-VA facilities (n = 89; 59 versus 51; rank sum test p = 0.002). After adjusting for medical center, the overall score was still significantly higher for those dying in the VA (beta = 0.07; confidence interval [CI] = 0.02-0.11; p = 0.004), as was the domain measuring care around the time of death (beta = 0.11; CI = 0.04-0.17; p = 0.001).

CONCLUSION:

Families of patients who died in VA facilities rated care as being better than did families of those who died in non-VA facilities. These results provide preliminary evidence that the VA's investment in end-of-life care has contributed to improvements in care in VA facilities compared to non-VA facilities.

PMID:
20649437
DOI:
10.1089/jpm.2010.0044
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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