Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is indicated for acute severe heart or lung failure unresponsive to optimal conventional therapy (to allow heart and/or lung to recover), as a bridge to therapy such as implantation of a left ventricular assist device, or as a bridge to heart/lung transplant. Owing to the severity of illness involved and the complexities of ECMO therapy, it is beneficial to focus not only on the ECMO treatment mechanics but also on preventing and relieving suffering and providing emotional support to the patients and their families. In the accompanying study, Siddiqui et al showed that developing and implementing early and ongoing palliative care communication improves patient care. Thus, as nurses, we can advocate for our patients by initiating early and ongoing palliative care sooner rather than later.

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