Tuesday, August 11, 2015
Intensive Care Unit (ICU) End-of-Life Decisions: Nurses, Families (Research, Video 3:54)
Everybody isn’t comfortable around dying people or even having conversations about them. But nurses in the intensive care unit (ICU) are confronted with this reality daily. Many have found ways to manage their personal adaptations and assist families in making their own adjustments when the time comes to discuss continuing aggressive treatment or shifting to end-of-life palliative care. ICU nurses help families negotiate consensus in these decisions.
The ICU dying process can be viewed as a story with several themes related to communication between nurses and families. These are the four parts of that story:
1) Building relationships and general communication
2) Recognizing the need to transition to palliative care
3) Facilitating palliative care
4) Providing dignified care throughout the dying process
ICU research involving 19 experienced intensive care nurses focused on their communication with families navigating the difficult path of transitioning from aggressive care to palliative care. This kind of research is important for caregivers because it helps them understand better how to talk about and reflect on the complex communication necessary for good end-of-life care.
In this video, the “3 Wishes Project” brings peace to the dying process for critically ill ICU patients and their loved ones. Family and clinician responses have been overwhelmingly positive.
Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers.