Although the Institute of Medicine asserts that a palliative approach to care is needed to improve health care challenges, palliative principles have been difficult to incorporate in the intensive care unit (ICU). Critically ill patients often have unmet physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual needs that could be identified with a palliative approach screening tool; however, no such tool has been designed for the ICU.

Using interdisciplinary focus groups and surveys, Venis and Dodek developed and tested a screening tool specific for ICU use. They found that

  • Before the tool was developed, members of the health care team showed a need for improved communication, collaboration, and a clearer understanding of what palliative care means for patients with poorer outcomes.

  • The newly developed tool was considered easy to use and prompted a more timely and comprehensive approach to meeting palliative needs of patients and their families.

To integrate the palliative approach and...

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