Medical decisions for troubled breathing in nursing home residents

Jiska Cohen-Mansfield*, Steven Lipson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


This paper aims to gain insight into the medical decision-making processes undergone in a nursing home in response to troubled breathing. Participants were 20 residents of a large, nonprofit nursing home, six of whom died by the time of data collection. The mean age was 88 yr, and 70% were female. Diagnostic tests and medication were the most frequently used treatments. The most important considerations reported were the resident's quality of life, family wishes, and the relative effectiveness of alternative treatment options. In 45% of the cases, the physicians reported family involvement. In 30% of cases, the physicians would have wanted less treatment if they were in the resident's condition. Troubled breathing emerges as an end-of-life symptom for many residents. An analysis of the decision-making process and its evaluation could foster improved care of these symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)557-561
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Nursing Studies
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


FundersFunder number
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality


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