Societal attitudes about end-of-life events are at odds with how, where, and when children die. In addition, parents’ ideas about what constitutes a “good death” in a pediatric intensive care unit vary widely.
To synthesize parents’ perspectives on end-of-life care in the pediatric intensive care unit in order to define the characteristics of a good death in this setting from the perspectives of parents.
A concept analysis was conducted of parents’ views of a good death in the pediatric intensive care unit. Empirical studies of parents who had experienced their child’s death in the inpatient setting were identified through database searches.
The concept analysis allowed the definition of antecedents, attributes, and consequences of a good death. Empirical referents and exemplar cases of care of a dying child in the pediatric intensive care unit serve to further operationalize the concept.
Conceptual knowledge of what constitutes a good death from a parent’s perspective may allow pediatric nurses to care for dying children in a way that promotes parents’ coping with bereavement and continued bonds and memories of the deceased child. The proposed conceptual model synthesizes characteristics of a good death into actionable attributes to guide bedside nursing care of the dying child.