[A role of visiting nurses in providing the terminal patients with their desirable life-discussion regarding the place of death of the patients who were registered for visiting nurse system].Gan To Kagaku Ryoho. 2001 Dec; 28 Suppl 1:128-31.GT
To evaluate the prognosis of the patients who had visiting nurse service and discuss the place of death (life at the terminal stage). To determine the roles of visiting nurses in providing the patients at a terminal stage with their desirable life till death.
A total of 180 patients, who were registered for their home healthcare service in our Shonan Kamakura General Hospital and died between January 2000 and February 2001, were subjected to the study. All the subjects were classified into 3 groups according to the places of their death, 1) death at home, 2) death in the hospital and 3) death upon arrival after the admission to the hospital. Moreover, the following items were also surveyed and analyzed: 1) diagnosis (name of diseases), 2) cause of death, 3) age, 4) family structure, 5) whether their primary care physicians explained the prognosis and possible expected conditions to the patients and their family before hand, and 6) how the visiting nurses interact with the patients and their family members.
Sixty-six patients died at home, 105 in the hospital and 9 upon arrival at the hospital. During this survey period, there were a total of 5,274 and 5,574 visits by primary care physicians and visiting nurses, respectively. The patients who died at home were more often observed in the patients whose primary care physicians explained their conditions to them and whose visiting nurses closely related to them. Moreover, the patients with malignant tumor also more often died at home. On the contrary, there were very few patients with chronic diseases, with whom death at home was accepted and agreed before hand, and there were some cases with chronic diseases who died inside of the ambulance transported on the way to the hospital after a sudden change in their conditions.
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION
In order to have the patients live their desirable life till their death, it is required for the caretakers to prepare their mind for the day of the patient's death in addition to the patient's own wishes. For the patients with malignant tumor, it is easy to predict their prognosis, thus the caretakers can get prepared for the day of the patient's death. On the contrary, in case of the patients with chronic diseases, it is more difficult for the caretakers to experience an indefinite time with the patients since their prognosis is generally longer but the sudden change in their conditions may give the caretakers a high anxiety. Thus, it is essential for the visiting nurses to play a role as a mediator to interact between the patients and their family members, and their primary care physicians, and to establish a trustful relationship with the patients while their conditions are still stable. Moreover, similar to the malignant patients, the visiting nurses should explain the situations to the patients with chronic diseases, that they can choose the place of their own death and specific medical treatment at emergency and can decide the detail for their terminal stage with their family members. Thus, it was considered to be very important that the visiting nurses should frequently confirm these issues with the patients and their family according to their conditions.