Advanced technology has made prolonged life support possible, yet approximately 22% of deaths of adult patients in the United States occur in intensive care units (ICUs). Successful transition from active treatment to end-of-life (EOL) care requires good communication and shared decision-making. However, conflict and poor interdisciplinary collaboration among health care professionals reduces the quality of EOL care and contributes to family distress.

Brooks and colleagues conducted focus group interviews with ICU nurses and physicians to discuss their experiences and perceptions of EOL care. They found the following:

  • Discussions of EOL care occur too late in the hospitalization.

  • Many staff are inexperienced at conducting difficult conversations with patients’ families.

  • Use of EOL care plans is inconsistent, with conflicting acceptance among disciplines.

  • Collaboration with patients’ families in decision-making can be difficult.

The authors recommend staff support and education from senior clinicians to improve interdisciplinary EOL...

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