Knowledge and Attitudes of Nursing Home LVNs and RNs Regarding Administering Pain Medictions to Dying Patients at End of Life

Graduation Date


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Document Form


Degree Name

Master of Science



Department or Program Chair

Barbara Ganley, PhD


Multiple studies suggest that long term care facility (LTC) residents live with substantial pain that goes untreated, particularly at end of life. Few studies have been done that specifically focus on the knowledge base and attitudes regarding pain and its management with nurses in these facilities. A survey was sent to 619 nurses working in LTC facilities in three counties in northern Texas. Areas assessed were assessment skills, attitudes and drug therapy knowledge, using frequency distribution for analysis. Results showed that none of the respondents answered all the questions 100% correctly. The questions with the highest percentage of incorrect answers were all related to pharmacology and addiction. The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospital Organizations pain management standards have been in effect since 2001 and requires that staff be educated about pain management. These findings support the need for more basic and continuing education, as well as awareness by LTC facilities that with the lack of knowledge of pain assessment and management many of their staff maybe contributing to the suffering of their residents and therefore seriously compromising patient care.