Date of Graduation

Spring 2017

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Major

Nursing

Research Sponsor

Carrie Wissmar

First Reader

Lisa Hart

Second Reader

Diane Lorenzen

Abstract

Many older adults nearing death experience unnecessarily invasive and costly healthcare treatments, often causing more harm than good. Hospice and palliative care interventions offer a possible solution to this problem by prioritizing high-quality and cost-effective care with a strong focus on comfort and satisfaction. The authors of this paper seek to answer the following question: Do hospice and palliative care interventions directed toward older adults at the end of life improve quality of life, cost of care, and satisfaction? This paper thoroughly reviews and critically appraises existing research related to the effect of hospice and palliative care directed toward older adults at the end of life. Twenty primary studies published between 2011 and 2016 were identified, reviewed, and critically evaluated in an effort to answer this question. The publications were diverse in objective, scope, and design, but all contributed to the conversation regarding this potential solution to substandard care for older adults at the end of life. Based on the existing evidence, the authors came to the following conclusion: hospice and palliative care interventions are associated with improved quality of life in five out of six measured areas, decreased cost of care, and high satisfaction for care recipients and providers alike. Ten recommendations for clinical practice and five recommendations for future research are discussed.

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