A measure of palliative care in nursing homes

Sarah Thompson, Marjorie Bott, Diane Boyle, Byron Gajewski, Virginia P. Tilden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Context: Efforts to improve care for nursing home residents stand to be enhanced by measures to assess the degree to which staff provide palliative care. As the incidence of death in nursing homes increases with the aging population, the gap in measurement must be addressed. To that end, we report the development and psychometric testing of a nursing home palliative care survey. Objectives: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the psychometric properties of the Palliative Care Survey (PCS) for use in nursing homes. Methods: Psychometric evaluation of the instrument was completed in two phases. Phase 1 focused on individual item analyses and subsequent revision or deletion of items, and Phase 2 evaluated evidence for reliability and validity. Phase 1 included 26 nursing homes and staff (n = 717), and Phase 2 included 85 nursing homes and staff (n = 2779). Data were analyzed using item-total correlations, Cronbach's alpha, confirmatory factor analysis, and analysis of variance. Results: Support was obtained for a 51-item PCS made up of two constructs, Palliative Care Practice and Palliative Care Knowledge. Conclusion: The PCS measures the extent to which the nursing home staff engage in palliative care practices and have knowledge consistent with good end-of-life care. Both practice and knowledge are an essential foundation to providing good end-of-life care to nursing home residents. Efforts to improve care for the dying in nursing homes have been slowed by an absence of measurement tools that capture care processes, a gap that the PCS reported here helps fill.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-67
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Pain and Symptom Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Palliative care
  • nursing homes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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