Family Satisfaction with End-of-Life Care in Seriously Ill Hospitalized Adults

Published in: Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, v. 48, no. 5, suppl., May 2000, p. S61-S69

Posted on on January 01, 2000

by Rose Baker, Albert W. Wu, Joan M. Teno, Barbara Kreling, Ann M. Damiano, Haya R. Rubin, Mary J. Roach, Neil S. Wenger, Russell S. Phillips, Norman A. Desbiens, et al.

Read More

Access further information on this document at

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

OBJECTIVE: To examine factors associated with family satisfaction with end-of-life care in the Study to Understand Prognoses and Preferences for Outcomes and Risks of Treatments (SUPPORT). DESIGN: A prospective cohort study with patients randomized to either usual care or an intervention that included clinical nurse specialists to assist in symptom control and facilitation of communication and decision-making. SETTING: Five teaching hospitals in the United States. PARTICIPANTS: Family members and other surrogate respondents for 767 seriously ill hospitalized adults who died. MEASUREMENTS: Eight questionnaire items regarding satisfaction with the patient's medical care expressed as two scores, one measuring satisfaction with patient comfort and the other measuring satisfaction with communication and decision-making. RESULTS: Sixteen percent of respondents reported dissatisfaction with patient comfort and 30% reported dissatisfaction with communication and decision-making. Factors found to be significantly associated with satisfaction with communication and decision-making were hospital site, whether death occurred during the index hospitalization (adjusted odds ratio (AOR) 2.2, 95% Cl, 1.3-3.9), and for patients who died following discharge, whether the patient received the SUPPORT intervention (AOR 2.0, 1.2-3.2). For satisfaction with comfort, male surrogates reported less satisfaction (0.6, 0.4-1.0), surrogates who reported patients' preferences were followed moderately to not at all had less satisfaction (0.2, 0.1-0.4), and surrogates who reported the patient's illness had greater effect on family finances had less satisfaction (0.4, 0.2-0.8). CONCLUSIONS: Satisfaction scores suggest the need for improvement in end-of-life care, especially in communication and decision-making. Further research is needed to understand how factors affect satisfaction with end-of-life care. An intervention like that used in SUPPORT may help family members.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.