Long-term care nurses' attitudes and the incidence of voluntary stopping of eating and drinking: A cross-sectional study
Journal Paper/Review - Nov 29, 2019
Stängle Sabrina, Schnepp Wilfried, Büche Daniel, Fringer André
To assess the incidence of voluntary stopping of eating and drinking (VSED) in long-term care and to gain insights into the attitudes of long-term care nurses about the VSED.
A cross-sectional study.
Heads of Swiss nursing homes (535; 34%) answered the Online-Survey between June - October 2017, which was evaluated using descriptive data analysis.
The incidence of patients who died in Swiss nursing homes by voluntarily stopping eating and drinking is 1.7% and 67.5% of participants consider this phenomenon highly relevant in their daily work. Most participants (64.2%) rate VSED as a natural death accompanied by health professionals and patients are also granted the right to care (91.9%). This phenomenon is expected by the participants less at a young age and more in old age.
Participants' overall views on the VSED are very positive, whereas it is assumed that VSED is a phenomenon of old age. Professionals still lack sufficient knowledge about this phenomenon, which could be clarified through training.
Voluntary stopping of eating and drinking is much discussed interprofessional, but there is a lack of knowledge on how this is perceived in the context of long-term care and about the incidence of the phenomenon. Voluntary stopping of eating and drinking is rare but noticeable end-of-life practises that is considered by professionals to be mainly dignified and peaceful, although moral concerns make it difficult to accompany. These findings call on long-term care institutions to discuss VSED as an end-of-life practice. Positioning on the issue provides clarity for staff and patients and promotes to develop standardized care. International Registered Report Identifier (IRRID): DERR1-10.2196/10358.