Understanding the will to live in older people living in nursing homes

Principal Investigator: Prof. Ralf Jox, CHUV
Co-investigators: Dr. Marc-Antoine Bornet, CHUV and Dr. Eve Rubli-Truchard, CHUV

Duration: 2020 - 2022
Funding: G. and J. Bangerter-Rhyner Foundation, Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences and Leenaards Foundation


In both clinical practice and research, there is a growing interest in the factors that positively influence patient quality of life. Research has shown that the "will to live" is an important indicator of the subjective well-being of elderly patients. Many questions remain unanswered regarding the will to live, especially for people living in nursing homes.


The purpose of this research was to explore the will to live of elderly residents living in nursing homes, to understand some of its determinants, and to examine whether the will to live can be assessed by third parties.

The study took place in five nursing homes in the canton of Vaud, where interviews were conducted with residents, their relatives and nursing home caregivers.

Current status

Results have been published.


  • Bornet MA, Jones L, Jox RJ, Bernard M, Ruedin S, Borasio GD, Rubli Truchard E. "Life goes on": Perspectives on the will to live from residents of Swiss long-term care facilities. Palliat Support Care. 2023.
  • Bornet MA, Jox RJ, Bernard M, Pasquier J, Borasio GD, Rubli Truchard E. Adding life to years: association between the will to live and survival among nursing home residents in Switzerland. In 18th Congress of the European Geriatric Medicine Society. Eur Geriatr Med. 2022:13(S1):S341.
  • Bornet MA, Jones L, Rubli Truchard E, Bernard M, Borasio GD, Jox RJ. “Just something human”: Older Swiss nursing home residents discuss their will to live. In: 12th World Research Congress of the European Association for Palliative Care. Palliat Med. 2022:36(1S)31.
  • Bornet MA, Rubli Truchard E, Bernard M, Pasquier J, Borasio GD, Jox RJ. Will to live in older nursing home residents: a cross-sectional study in Switzerland. J Pain Symptom Manage. 2021;62(5):902-9.
  • Bornet MA, Rubli Truchard E, Bernard M, Borasio GD, Pasquier J, Jox RJ. Will to live in nursing home residents: a cross-sectional study with short-term follow-up in Switzerland. In: 2021 Virtual American Geriatrics Society Annual Scientific Meeting. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2021:69(S1):S291.
  • Bornet MA, Bernard M, Jaques C, Rubli Truchard E, Borasio GD, Jox RJ. Assessing the will to live: a scoping review. J Pain Symptom Manage. 2021;61(4):845-57.
 Last updated on 22/08/2023 at 15:03