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End-of-life care in the oldest old

  • Marie Ernsth Bravell (a1), Bo Malmberg (a1) and Stig Berg (a1)



The aim of this study was to describe the last year of life of a sample of the oldest old, focusing on care trajectories, health, social networks, and function in daily life activities.


Data originated from the NONA study, a longitudinal study of 193 individuals among the oldest old living in a Swedish municipality. During this longitudinal study, 109 participants died. Approximately one month after their death, a relative was asked to participate in a telephone interview concerning their relative's last year of life. One hundred two relatives agreed to participate.


Most of the elderly in this sample of the oldest old (74.5%) died at an institution and the relatives were mostly satisfied with the end-of-life care. The oldest old relatives estimated that the health steadily declined during the last year of life, and that there was a decline in performing of daily life activities. They also estimated that those dying in institutions had fewer social contacts than those dying in a hospital or at home.

Significance of results:

Care at end of life for the oldest old is challenged by problems with progressive declines in ability to perform activities of daily living and health. The findings also highlight the need to support social networks at eldercare institutions.


Corresponding author

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Marie Ernsth Bravell, Box 1026, 551 11, Jönköping, Sweden. E-mail:


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