Much of the literature for end of life in the intensive care unit focuses on patients and their treatment. Families are usually present and should be a focus, as well as a resource, in end-of-life plans. Using categories from a recently published Society of Critical Care Medicine guideline on family support during an intensive care unit stay and 7 end-of-life domains, literature retrieved since 2000 was summarized. Topics addressed are decision making, spiritual and cultural support, emotional and practical support of families, including visitation and family preparation for death, and continuity of care.

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