Eliciting Goals of Care in a Nursing Home

Christian Davis Furman, Susan E. Kelly, Keith Knapp, Robyn L. Mowery, Toni Miles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objectives: To identify enablers and barriers facing providers and staff in initiating Goals of Care (GOC) discussions with patients in the nursing home. Design: Qualitative methods, one-on-one interviews. The interviews began with eliciting the participant's definition of GOC. The open-ended questions were designed to assess recent experience and satisfaction with the participant's role in the GOC discussion. Setting: Nursing home. Participants: We interviewed 23 nursing home staff and providers. Measurements: Transcripts were qualitatively analyzed. Results: Five themes emerged that were identified as barriers to discussing GOC: (1) Fear of legal ramifications; (2) Not enough education on how to have a GOC discussion; (3) Family not involved on a regular basis; (4) Time pressure; (5) Interdisciplinary team not involved. Five themes also emerged that were identified as enablers to the GOC discussion: (1) Education/experience with the GOC discussion; (2) Interdisciplinary team involved in the discussion; (3) Established trusting relationship with the patient/family/other staff; (4) Terminal diagnosis/hospice involvement; (5) Discussion occurs in-person. Conclusion: A major finding of these interviews is the lack of systematic attention to GOC in the nursing home setting. Since education and experience were identified as crucial to understanding GOC, more formal education and observed practice discussing GOC is needed for all staff. The outcomes of GOC discussions should be documented in the patient record and be accessible to all staff and communicated systematically to all staff. Addressing these barriers and facilitating these enablers to the GOC discussion will improve the care of nursing home patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e35-e41
JournalJournal of the American Medical Directors Association
Issue number3 SUPPL. 2
StatePublished - Mar 2007


  • Advance care planning
  • goals of care
  • nursing home
  • palliative care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing
  • Health Policy
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


Dive into the research topics of 'Eliciting Goals of Care in a Nursing Home'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this