Do you know how to prepare families for withdrawal of life support from their loved one? Do you know specifically what to tell them? Kirchhoff and colleagues describe the development and testing of an informational intervention to prepare families for what will happen during this process. Specific messages include the following:

  • Uncertainty concerning time of death

  • Reassurance that nursing care will continue

  • Symptom management is the priority

  • Privacy would be provided

  • General signs: breathing pattern changes, skin color changes, muscle spasms

  • Families may choose to stay or leave at any time

  • Permission given to touch, talk to the patient, or assist with care Tailored information specific to each patient also was included. Families were receptive and seemed to be helped by the information.

See Article, pp 113–122

Do you offer the chance for your patients’ families to be with...

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