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November 4, 1983

Impact on Nursing Home Staff of Training About Death and Dying

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Psychiatry (Drs M. Linn and Stein) and Surgery (Dr B. Linn), Veterans Administration Medical Center and University of Miami School of Medicine, Miami.

JAMA. 1983;250(17):2332-2335. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03340170058029

The aim of the study was to test an educational program for nursing home personnel concerning working with dying patients. Ten community nursing homes were randomly assigned to experimental (training) or control (no training) conditions. Staff members in all homes were pretested on their anxieties about death, attitudes, knowledge, and skill in working with the dying. After training, experimental staff members (N=296) had more fear of their own deaths and less fear of the dying of others than control subjects (N=290). Also, trained staff had better attitudes toward caring for the dying patient and dealing with the family, as well as improved knowledge and skill. Data support the value of training, even though sessions may temporarily increase anxiety of staff members about their own deaths.

(JAMA 1983;250:2332-2335)