"I didn't know he was dying": Missed opportunities for making end-of-life care decisions for older family members

Shigeko Izumi, Catherine Van Son

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


Research is limited on end-of-life care decision-making for older adults with chronic conditions whose end-of-life trajectory is difficult to predict because of their complex and frail condition. Semistructured interviews were conducted with family members of 22 deceased older adults to explore their experiences with end-of-life decision-makingwith/for their loved ones. Participants did not identify a specific time they made an end-of-life care decision as they did not know the older adult was at the end of life, health care providers did not ask them to make a decision, or they had to make forced decisions, and subsequently they experienced regret about the end-of-life care their family member received. End-of-life care decisions were dependent on the awareness of approaching death by participants, their loved ones, and health care providers. Health care providers being aware of the possibility of approaching death and assisting family members to make decisions that would honor the older adult's preference by explaining possible care options and what each care options would mean to them are key to providing quality end-of-life care for these individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)74-81
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016



  • Chronic conditions
  • Decision making
  • End-of-life care
  • Older adult

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing
  • Community and Home Care

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