Study: Half in nursing homes die in agony

Elderly people in Norway care for the elderlyElderly. Photo:

46 percent of patients in Norwegian nursing homes experience a painful death, but the symptoms they are experiencing are possible to treat, according to a new study.

These patients in our nursing homes are struggling not only with pain but also respiratory distress, anxiety, depression, insomnia and nausea, according to a new Norwegian study published in the Journal of The American Medical Directors Association, writes newspaper VG.

According to figures from Statistics Norway about 360 physicians and staff spread over the country’s 900 nursing homes.

– 18,600 people die in nursing homes each year. That’s 48 percent of all deaths in Norway. We must ask ourselves if there are too few doctors in nursing homes compared to how big the workload really is, says Bettina Husebø, one of the authors of the article and head of the Center for elderly care medicine at the University of Bergen.

It has been pointed out that the simple treatments that could improve the quality of life of patients, such as sedatives for anxiety, must be approved by a doctor before application is permitted.

The study spanned three years and includes nearly 700 patients at 47 nursing homes in 35 municipalities. It concluded that too many people are experiencing unacceptably high pain levels and troublesome symptoms at the end of their life.

– This underscores the great need for guidelines, better implementation and training of nursing staff, says the paper.


Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today