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Does Your Nursing Home Know About Palliative Care?

Daniel J. Williams

Palliative care is specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses, and it focuses on providing patients with relief from the symptoms and stress of that illness. The ultimate goal of palliative care is to improve the quality of life for the patient and their family.

And while palliative care is a great concept, it is shocking how many long term care facility and nursing home managers and employees have little to no knowledge of how to administer such care. A recent study found that over 20% of long-term care facility managers had little to no palliative care experience.

However, 43% of those surveyed did have knowledge of palliative care. That knowledge translated into more compassionate care and less “aggressive interventions,” such as hastily inserting a feeding tube, injections, applying restraints, or an emergency room or hospital trip.

Reading the findings highlights the importance of not only planning ahead for long term care, but also the issues that arise from having a loved one in a long term care facility.

Making sure that you know the risks and benefits of a placement are important. Being present to ensure that proper care is being administered is also a part of the process. The fact that a nursing home administrator and staff are not properly trained on how to administer care to a patient, either end-of-life care or palliative care, or even day to day needs, is not the fault of the patient. Nor should they have to suffer because of inadequate training, and improper use of medical devices and restraints.

However, many of these facilities are improperly treating residents, unnecessarily administering medical treatment to them, and in some cases people are dying who should not be, simply because of a lack of training, understanding, and appropriate action.

If you are looking into putting a loved one into a nursing home or long term care facility, or if you have a family member already in one, be sure to ask the management about their knowledge of palliative care and how they implement it for their patients.

As a former elder abuse prosecutor with the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, I now work in the civil courts enforcing the laws to compensate victims for this very type of problem. If a loved one is the victim of abuse or neglect, or if they are not getting the proper care that they need, Fausone Bohn, LLP is ready to assist in getting compensation.

Contact the elder abuse attorneys at Fausone Bohn, LLP today at (248) 468-4536, or online at

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