Original Study| Volume 22, ISSUE 8, P1699-1705.e1, August 2021

Effects of Staff Training on Nursing Home Residents’ End-Of-Life Care: A Randomized Controlled Trial



      This trial examines the effects of end-of-life training on long-term care facility (LTCF) residents' health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and use and costs of hospital services.


      A single-blind, cluster randomized (at facility level) controlled trial (RCT). Our training intervention included 4 small-group 4-hour educational sessions on the principles of palliative and end-of-life care (advance care planning, adverse effects of hospitalizations, symptom management, communication, supporting proxies, challenging situations). Training was provided to all members of staff. Education was based on constructive learning methods and included resident cases, role-plays, and small-group discussions.

      Setting and participants

      We recruited 324 residents with possible need for end-of-life care due to advanced illness from 20 LTCF wards in Helsinki.


      Primary outcome measures were HRQoL and hospital inpatient days per person-year during a 2-year follow-up. Secondary outcomes were number of emergency department visits and cost of all hospital services.


      HRQoL according to the 15-Dimensional Health-Related Quality-of-Life Instrument declined in both groups, and no difference was present in the changes between the groups (P for group .75, adjusted for age, sex, do-not-resuscitate orders, need for help, and clustering). Neither the number of hospital inpatient days (1.87 vs 0.81 per person-year) nor the number of emergency department visits differed significantly between intervention and control groups (P for group .41). The total hospital costs were similar in the intervention and control groups.

      Conclusions and Implications

      Our rigorous RCT on end-of-life care training intervention demonstrated no effects on residents’ HRQoL or their use of hospitals. Unsupported training interventions alone might be insufficient to produce meaningful care quality improvements.


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