Grief among family members of nursing home residents with advanced dementia.
Aged, 80 and over
Cost of Illness
To describe preloss and postloss grief symptoms among family members of nursing home (NH) residents with advanced dementia, and to identify predictors of greater postloss grief symptoms.
Prospective cohort study.
22 NHs in the greater Boston area.
123 family members of NH residents who died with advanced dementia.
Preloss grief was measured at baseline, and postloss grief was measured 2 and 7 months postloss using the Prolonged Grief Disorder Scale. Independent variables included resident and family member sociodemographic characteristics, resident comfort, acute illness, acute care prior to death, family member depression, and family member understanding of dementia and of resident's prognosis.
Levels of preloss and postloss grief were relatively stable from baseline to 7 months postloss. Feelings of separation and yearning were the most prominent grief symptoms. After multivariable adjustment, greater preloss grief and the family member having lived with the resident prior to NH admission were the only factors independently associated with greater postloss grief 7 months after resident death.
The pattern of grieving for some family members of NH residents with advanced dementia is prolonged and begins before resident death. Identification of family members at risk for postloss grief during the preloss period may help guide interventions aimed at lessening postloss grief.