Quality of care and quality of dying in nursing homes: Two measurement models

Sarah A. Thompson, Marjorie Bott, Byron Gajewski, Virginia P. Tilden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: There is consistent evidence of significant variation in the quality of end-of-life care among nursing homes, with many facilities ill-prepared to provide optimal physical and psychological care that is culturally sensitive and respectful of the needs and preferences of residents and their family members. There is continued evidence that what is impeding efforts to improve care is that most measurement tools are hampered by a lack of distinction between quality of care and quality of dying as well as a lack of complete psychometric evaluation. Further, health services researchers cite the need to include "system-level" factors, variables that reflect leadership, culture, or informal practices, all of which influence end-of-life care and can be used to differentiate one setting from another. The purpose of this article is to report advancement in conceptualizing quality end-of-life care in nursing homes and to offer a refined approach to measurement. Methods: Two latent constructs are tested: quality of care (composed of system-level factors) and quality of dying (comprised of resident/family outcomes). Data obtained from 85 Midwestern nursing homes and 1282 interviews with bereaved family members were used to evaluate both constructs. Results: Confirmatory factor analyses were conducted and evidence of validity and reliability were obtained for both. Conclusion: For health services researchers, expanded models that include system-level factors as well as more comprehensive and psychometrically sound models of resident outcomes stand to inform efforts to improve care in this very important area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)690-695
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of palliative medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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